Market Wrap: Aus shares close flat

Market Reports

Following a dismal start to the trading week, the local share market managed to regain some momentum in afternoon trade and close the day relatively flat, or 0.02 per cent lower. In the end it was the materials space that did the bulk of the heavy lifting, with BHP and Rio Tinto gaining 1 and 2 per cent respectively. This was counteracted by the financials space, with losses across the big four banks. 
 
The ASX200 finished 1 point lower to 4,975. 
 
The value of trades was $4.4 billion on volume of 672 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Vocus Communications  (ASX:VOC), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 3 points lower.
 
Economic news

According to latest figures from ANZ job ads have risen 1 per cent for the month of January, however the banks’ economists say job ad trends have lost some momentum over the past six months. In December, job ads decreased by 0.1 per cent. 
 
Company news

AGL Energy Limited (ASX:AGL) has announced that Moody’s credit rating agency had initiated coverage and assigned an investment grade credit rating of Baa2 with a stable outlook. Moody’s indicated that AGL’s strong retail market position and low cost position enables AGL to navigate the challenges presented by the energy market in Australia. Shares in AGL closed 1.79 per cent higher at $18.80. 
 
JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX:JBH) says first half net profit is up by 7.5 per cent and revenue came in at $95.2 million.
 
Oz Forex Group Limited (ASX:OFX) says its proposed deal with Western Union has come to naught. 
 
Asciano Limited (ASX:AIO) has announced this morning that it believes the revised Qube proposal is the superior offer. 
 
Liquified Natural Gas Limited (ASX:LNG) says it has been given final approval from the US Department of Energy to export its product to countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the United States. 

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Utilities adding 1.25 per cent to close at 7,140. The worst performing sector was Financials excluding REITs, losing 0.7 per cent to close at 6,389 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Slater and Gordon, rising 7.63 per cent to close at $0.64. Shares in Ansell and Evolution Mining also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Oz Forex, dropping 42.07 per cent to close at $1.79. Shares in Programmed and APN News and Media also closed lower. 
 
Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,166 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.83 lower at $US30.89 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7094.