Flat finish: Aus shares close 0.01% higher

Market Reports

by Clive Tompkins

It has been a lacklustre end to the trading session for the Australian share market, following on from mixed leads from Wall Street overnight. The local bourse started the day in the black, but quickly dipped into negative territory and struggled for direction for the remainder of the session, closing just 0.01% higher. The Materials sector proved to be the biggest drag on the market with losses in the likes of Boral and Saracen Mineral.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.7 points higher to finish at 5,485.

The value of trades was $5.2 billion on volume of 748 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Boral, Westpac and BHP.

On the futures market the SPI was 3 points down.

Company news

Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) says that site development activities have started at the company’s flagship Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The start of bulk earthworks puts the lithium developer on track to commence run of ore mining in the second half of next year. Shares in Pilbara Minerals closed 2.86 per cent down at $0.54.

Orocobre Ltd (ASX:ORE) has announced it will divest a number of its lithium brine projects to Canada-based Advantage Lithium Corp.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced it will not oppose Qube Holdings’ (ASX:QUB) acquisition of the remaining 50% of Australian Amalgamated Terminals.

Software solutions company, Gentrack (ASX:GTK), says NPAT rose 3% to NZ$9.6 million, compared to the same period last year.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Staples adding 0.6 per cent to close at 8781. The worst performing sector was Materials, losing 0.6 per cent to close at 9777 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sigma Pharmaceutical, rising 5.71 per cent to close at $1.29. Shares in Gateway Lifestyle and Nextdc also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Boral, dropping 13.30 per cent to close at $4.99. Shares in Saracen Mineral and St Barbara also closed lower.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1186 an ounce.
Light crude is 9 cents down at $US47.94 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying 73.76 US cents.