Market Wrap: Aus shares close flat

Market Reports

by Carolyn Herbert

It’s been a lack-lustre start to the trading week for the Australian share market, despite positive leads from Wall Street on Friday. The local bourse struggled for direction throughout the session; bouncing between positive and negative territory before closing flat or 0.04 per cent higher. The big banks and the miners proved to be the biggest weight on the market today, along with the consumer discretionary space; Bellamy’s in particular shed more than 4 per cent. The energy space turned things around in afternoon trade and ended up closing the day higher. 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 2 points up to finish at 5,408. 
The value of trades was $3.6 billion on volume of 538 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).
On the futures market the SPI is down 3 points.

Economic news
Latest business indicators data for the March quarter has painted a bit of a mixed picture, in relation to what’s expected from the GDP read to come out on Wednesday. The data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals a slump in mining profits, but a rise in inventories and wages. Most economists expect GDP to come in at 0.6 per cent for the quarter. 
Company news

Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX:GXY) and General Mining Corporation have entered into a definitive takeover bid implementation agreement to merge the two companies. Under the terms of the agreement Galaxy will acquire all of the issued shares of General Mining that it doesn’t already own, by way of an off-market takeover. Shares in Galaxy Resources closed 11.39 per cent higher at $0.44. 
Patties Foods Limited (ASX:PFL) has confirmed media speculation it has received a non-binding, conditional and incomplete proposal from Pacific Equity Partners to acquire the business.
FlexiGroup Limited (ASX:FXL) has announced it has agreed to acquire a minority equity position in Kikka Capital, on online, non-bank lender to Australian SMEs.
ImpediMed Limited (ASX:IPD) has announced it has entered into a 5 year master clinical trial agreement with the Mayo Clinic.
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Staples adding 0.8 per cent to close at 8,628. The worst performing sector was Materials, losing 0.7 per cent to close at 8,028 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Liquefied Natural Gas, rising 6.48 per cent to close at $0.58. Shares in Spotless Group and Select Harvests also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was ALS, dropping 7.13 per cent to close at $4.17. Shares in Northern Star and Bellamy’s also closed lower. 

WAM Leaders Limited (ASX:WLE) started trading today. The listed investment company floated with an issue price of $1.10, opened at $1.09 and closed at $1.07.    
Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,201 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.05 lower at $US49.33 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7161. 

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