Market Wrap: Aus shares close 1.45% lower

Market Reports

It’s been a tough ride for Australian equities this week, with the share market finishing the week on a sour note, closing 1.45 per cent lower on the back of a commodity price plunge. All sectors finished the day in negative territory, but it was the materials and energy sectors which proved to be the biggest drag on the market. Not a good day for the financials space either, with losses across the board. 
 
Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 74 points down to finish at 5,051. Over the week the index lost 164 points. 
 
The value of trades was $5.5 billion on volume of 840 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 96 points lower.

US markets
 
Looking at Wall Street, US major indexes have retreated over the four trading days this week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 2.65 per cent. The S&P 500 Index has slipped 2.6 per cent. The NASDAQ has lost 2.8 per cent. The 100 Index has declined 2.6 per cent. 
 
Company news

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) has provided an update to the market on the mining incident in Brazil last week, where a dam burst at its Samarco Joint Venture. Samarco has advised that so far there have been nine fataltities, and 19 people remain unaccounted for. The mine is jointly owned by BHP and Vale. More than 600 people were also evacuated from the area. Shares in BHP closed 1.8 per cent lower at $20.23. 
 
Primary Health Care Limited (ASX:PRY) says it has reached an agreement to sell its Barangaroo office site for $40 million. 
 
SkyCity Entertainment Group Limited (ASX:SKC) says they have lodged plans for a $300 million upgrade and expansion of the Adelaide Casino. 
 
Best and worst performers

The sector with the least losses was REITs losing 0.6 per cent to close at 1,237. The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 3.45 per cent to close at 8,091 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was G8 Education, rising 4.69 per cent to close at $3.57. Shares in Cardno and Breville also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Sims Metal Management, dropping 9.79 per cent to close at $7.00. Shares in Drillsearch and Beach Energy also closed lower. 
 
Commodities and the dollar

The price of gold is trading at $US1,083 an ounce, and is down $25.14 over the week.
Light crude is $1.28 lower at $US42.92 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $71.37 US cents.