Slide continues: Aus shares close 0.37% lower

Market Reports

by Carolyn Herbert

After last week’s stellar gains the Australian share market has extended yesterday’s losses, closing the session 0.37 per cent lower. The local bourse dropped at the open and tracked sideways for the remainder of the session, as investors sold off the materials space along with consumer discretionaries. Energy was the star performer this session after a jump in the price of Brent Crude overnight.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 20 points down to finish at 5,326.

The value of trades was $5.8 billion on volume of 886 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP).

On the futures market the SPI is 28 points lower.

Economic news

The Reserve Bank of Australia has released the minutes of its November board meeting, where once again interest rates were kept on hold at a record low of 1.5 per cent. The central bank remained upbeat about inflation, but concerned about weakness in Australia’s labour market.

Company news

Ainsworth Game Technology (ASX:AGI) says it expects international revenues to continue to grow in FY17. The gaming company stated at its annual general meeting that international revenues now account for 71 per cent of the group’s revenue and growth in the US alone, increased by 40 per cent this year. The company declared a fully franked dividend of 10 cents for the year. Shares in Ainsworth Game Technology closed 0.28 per cent lower at $1.76.

Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) has completed its acquisition of half of BHP Billiton’s (ASX:BHP) stake in the Scarborough area gas fields in Western Australia.

Stem cell company, Mesoblast Ltd (ASX:MSB), reported a 74 per cent fall in profitability to $22.9 million for the quarter.

Global education provider Navitas (ASX:NVT) says it had 2% underlying growth in student enrolments during the third semester of 2016.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Energy adding 1 per cent to close at 8,369. The worst performing sector was Healthcare, losing 1.5 per cent to close at 19,927 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Resolute Mining, rising 5.33 per cent to close at $1.28. Shares in Premier Investments and Oz Minerals also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Ozforex, dropping 16.98 per cent to close at $1.34. Shares in Whitehaven Coal and Aconex also closed lower.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,227 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.14 higher at $US44.29 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7562.


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