ASX spooks: AMP sold off heavily

Market Reports

by Lee Brooks


Australian shares have limped lower this afternoon as a bunch of profit warnings and concerns about the US election keep investors subdued before the weekend.

Sluggish consumer spending and a reversal of the mid-year bond rally are also stunting gains ahead of another interest rate decision from the RBA next week.

Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 12 points down to finish at 5,284. Over the week the index lost 147 points.

The value of trades was $6.5 billion on volume of 873 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)

On the futures market the SPI is 7 points up.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has added 0.1 per cent. The S&P 500 Index has lost 0.4 per cent. The NASDAQ has lost 0.8 per cent. The 100 Index has lost 0.3 per cent.

Economic news

Sales of new homes continue to rise with total sales in September up 2.7 per cent, after a 6.1 per cent jump in August. However most indicators are saying new home building activity has now passed its peak.

Company news

AMP Limited (ASX:AMP) has indicated structural issues in the life insurance sector will impact its underlying profit by around $565 million. The company’s indicated the changes will reduce this financial years wealth protection embedded value by approximately $1 billion. Goodwill is expected to be fully impaired by $668 million. Investors took flight with shares in AMP Limited down 9.13 per cent to $4.68.

Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) says same store sales in the first quarter are up 0.7 percent on last year. The increase is due to an improvement in both transaction and item growth, however Woolworths’ price reduction strategy to lure new customers has seen average prices drop by 2.8 percent across the board. Shares in Woolworths closed 2.3 per cent lower at $24.23.

Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) has announced a half yearly profit of $1.05 billion dollars, down 2 per cent on the same time last year.

And ANZ Group Limited (ASX:ANZ) announced it will book $360 million in charges against its full year results, due out late next week.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was energy adding 1.7 per cent to close at 8,245. The worst performing sector was REITs, losing 1.1 per cent to close at 1,296 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Western Areas, rising 7.85 per cent to close at $2.61. Shares in Whitehaven Coal and South 32 also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was the aforementioned AMP. Shares in Dreamworlds owner Ardent Leisure and Carsales.com also closed lower.

Commodities

The price of gold is trading at $US1,272 an ounce. Light crude is $0.42 higher at $US49.60 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 75.95 US cents and has shed 0.16 per cent over the week.
 

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