Market Wrap: Aus shares close flat

Market Reports

Despite a positive start to the session after a decent lead from Wall Street on Friday, the local share market ran out of puff in afternoon trade and ended up closing practically flat, or 0.08 per cent lower. The big miners BHP and Rio Tinto took a turn for the worse at the end of the day, closing down 2.5 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectively. The healthcare space was the shining light today with Blackmores jumping more than 4.5 per cent. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 4 points lower to finish at 4,995. 
 
The value of trades was $3.2 billion on volume of 504 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).
 
On the futures market the SPI is 10 points higher.

Economic news
 
Inflation has slipped below the RBA’s target range of 2 to 3 per cent according to latest figures from the Melbourne Institute. Inflation for March fell 0.2 per cent as a result of cheaper fuel, fruits and vegetables. For the 12 months to March, inflation rose 1.7 per cent. Also in economic news, job advertisements have stagnated for the month of March according to data from ANZ. There was a 0.2 per cent rise in the number of ads for the month, weighed down by an 11.4 per cent slump in newspaper advertisements. 
 
Company news

Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (ASX:LNG) has announced the appointment of Mr Greg Vesey as Managing Director and CEO of the company effective immediately. Mr Vesey will be based in Houston, Texas and previously spent 35 years at Chevron . Mr Vesey will succeed the company’s founder Mr Maurice Brand who will continue on as an executive director until he retires in June next year. Shares in Liquefied Natural Gas closed 3.74 per cent lower at $0.52. 
 
Aconex Limited (ASX:ACX) has signed a three-year enterprise agreement with engineering, procurement and construction firm Fluor Corporation.
 
Vista Group International Limited (ASX:VGL) has acquired a 50 percent stake in Powster Limited, a London-based company specialising in film marketing products, music videos and creative content. 
 
GPT Metro Office Fund (ASX:GMF) has announced an increase of 6.4 per cent in the value of its property portfolio. 

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Utilities adding 0.7 per cent to close at 6,937. The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 2.9 per cent to close at 7,422 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was St Barbara, rising 4.28 per cent to close at $2.07. Shares in Blackmores and Technology One also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Whitehaven Coal, dropping 8.46 per cent to close at $0.59. Shares in Origin Energy and Select Harvests also closed lower. 
 
Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,218 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.55 lower at $US36.79 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7631.