Healthcare drags Aus shares 0.22% lower

Market Reports

by David Chau

It’s been a pretty lacklustre end to the trading week.  The Australian share market started off trading flat in the morning, then sunk by over half a percent around lunchtime. However, it has regained some of its losses to finish the day 0.22% lower.

Today’s disappointing performance was due to a steep plunge in the Healthcare sector. In addition, the share prices of Healthscope and SkyCity Entertainment fell sharply, which dragged down the local bourse.

Markets

Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 12 points down to finish at 5,430. Over the week the index lost 4 points.

The value of trades was $5 billion on volume of 786 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) , BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP), and Healthscope (ASX:HSO), even though it was today’s worst performing stock.

On the futures market the SPI is 22 points down.

Looking at Wall Street, US major indexes retreated over the four trading days this week: The Dow Jones gained 0.13 per cent. The S&P 500 added 0.13 per cent as well. The NASDAQ was up 0.53 per cent. The 100 Index has gained 0.5 per cent.

Company news

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers (ASX:KPT) has signed a heads of agreement to purchase the entire Forestry Investment Trust on Kangaroo Island for $55 million. The company has also lodged an application for Major Development Status with the South Australian government. Shares in Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers closed up 23.18 per cent at $27.10.

Helloworld Ltd (ASX:HLO) plans to acquire a 50% stake in Mobile Travel Holdings for $14 million. The company will fund this acquisition via a $30 million capital raising.

Monadelphous Group Ltd (ASX:MND) has entered a joint venture with project management firm, Lycopodium Ltd. The joint venture will be called MONDIUM, and will be operating in the minerals processing sector.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Staples adding 0.5 per cent to close at 9,296. The worst performing sector was Healthcare, shedding 3 per cent to close at 20,707 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Orocobre, rising 5.97 per cent to close at $3.37. Shares in Bellamy’s and Cleanaway Waste Management also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Healthscope, dropping 18.77 per cent to close at $2.38. Shares in Skycity Entertainment and Ramsay Health Care also closed lower.

Commodities

The price of gold is trading at $US1,263 an ounce, and is up $9.89 over the week. Light crude is $1.21 lower at $US50.61 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying $0.7635 and is flat over the week.