Mundane Monday performance: Aus shares fall 0.4%

Market Reports

by David Chau

It’s been a pretty disappointing start to the trading week. The Australian share market plunged at the open, as investors engaged in broad-based selling. Most sectors finished in the red today, but the local index managed to regain some of its lossesfinishing the day 0.4% lower.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 22 points down to finish at 5,409.

The value of trades was $4.6 billion on volume of 698 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Westpac Bank (ASX:WBC), Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) and BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP).

On the futures market the SPI is down 10 points.

Company news

Freelancer Ltd (ASX:FLN), which is an online freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace, has released its cash flow statement for the September quarter. The company says cash receipts were $12.7 million, which is an increase of 31% year over year (or 47% in the year to date). Freelancer also says it has positive operating cashflow of $4.2 million in the year to date. Also, job volume on its website was up 47.9%, and the company says it was its best quarter on record. Shares in Freelancer closed 12.37 per cent lower at $1.31.

Cooper Energy Limited (ASX:COE) will acquire the Victorian gas assets of Santos LTd (ASX:STO) for $82 million.

The Foreign Investment Review Board has approved the sale of Vitaco Holdings Limited (ASX:VIT) to Shanghai Pharmaceuticals.

Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia Ltd (ASX:GMA) has announced its parent company, Genworth Financial, has agreed to be acquired by China Oceanwide Holdings for $2.7 billion. After this announcement, the value of Genworth's shares went up to become one of today's stronger performers.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Telcos, adding 0.14 per cent to close at 1,805. The worst performing sector was Healthcare, losing 1.87 per cent to close at 20,319 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Bluescope Steel, rising 4.76 per cent to close at $8.14. Shares in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries and Genworth Mortgage Insurance also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Coca Cola Amatil, dropping 6.44 per cent to close at $9.45. This was due to investors’ concerns about the soft drink giant’s near term growth prospects, following its investor presentations last Friday. Shares in Healthscope and Resolute Mining also closed lower.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,266 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.37 up at $US51 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7616.