Return to the red: Aus shares close 0.8% lower

Market Reports

by Carolyn Herbert

It has been a disappointing end to the trading session for the Australian share market today, which gave up almost all of yesterday’s strong gains. The local bourse followed a weaker lead from Wall Street, plunging deeper into the red as the session went on, before finally closing the day 0.8 per cent lower. The financials space, along with consumer discretionaries proved to be the biggest drag on the market this session with losses across all of the big banks. Materials bucked the trend today, following an increase in the price of iron ore and a positive outlook on iron ore futures.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 47 points down to finish at 5,761.

The value of trades was $4.4 billion on volume of 648 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).

On the futures market the SPI is 58 points down.

Economic news

 According to latest figures from the ABS, retail turnover increased 0.2 per cent, seasonally adjusted for the month of November. The Australian Bureau of Statistics says there were rises in food prices, clothing and footwear and household goods. This 0.2 per cent increase, fell short of October’s 0.5 per cent rise.

Company news

REA Group (ASX:REA) has announced its intention to acquire a 14.7 per cent strategic stake in PropTiger, a digital real estate marketing platform in India. The company says India’s real estate market is estimated to be valued at US$180 billion by 2020. REA’s stake in the business will be acquired for a cash consideration of $67.9 million. Shares in REA Group closed 0.46 per cent higher at $57.26.

Crown Resorts Limited (ASX: CWN) has announced a management shake-up saying Robert Rankin will step down as Chairman of Crown Resorts.

Hunter Hall International (ASX: HHL) has appointed an interim chief executive officer (CEO) and an interim chief investment officer (CIO), following its announcement that Peter Hall will leave the company in June 2017.

Centuria Capital Group (ASX:CNI) has completed its acquisition of the property funds management platform of 360 Capital Group. 

Best and worst performers

The sector with the least losses was Materials losing almost 0.1per cent to close at 9,885. The worst performing sector was Discretionaries, losing 1.47 per cent to close at 2,142 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN), rising 2.33 per cent to close at $2.20. Shares in Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) and Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was GWA Group (ASX:GWA), dropping 7.32 per cent to close at $2.66. Shares in Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) and Asaleo Care (ASX:AHY) also closed lower.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,185 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.97 lower at $US51.79 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US73.73.