It has been a second straight day of losses for the Australian share market after opening in the red and remaining there for the rest of the session before closing 0.72 per cent lower. We did see the local bourse rebound from some of those losses in the last hour of trade, but all sectors finished the day in negative territory. REITs were the best of a bad bunch, followed by the healthcare and utilities sectors. Energy fared the worst, followed by the materials space with big miners Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) shedding 1.6 and 2.6 per cent respectively.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 41 points down to finish at 5,621.
The value of trades was $5.3 billion on volume of 774 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP).
On the futures market the SPI is 41 points down.
Navitas Limited (ASX:NVT) says it expects its earnings to remain steady in FY17, flagging that uncertainty exists in some markets affecting the education provider. For the half year ended 31 December 2016, group revenue and EBITDA declines were driven largely by the closures of two university parternship colleges and vocational funding reform in Australia. However net profit was up by 18 per cent for the period. Shares in Navitas closed 6.14 per cent down at $4.43.
Iluka Resources (ASX:ILU) says it’s expecting a full year loss of between $220 to $230 million, due to impairments.
Beach Energy Limited (ASX:BPT) says quarterly sales revenue was up 4 per cent to $176 million for the December qtr, thanks to higher oil prices.
Carsales.com Limited (ASX:CAR) will increase its Latin American footprint, after it entered into an agreement to buy Argentina’s DeMotores for $6.7 million.
Best and worst performers
The sector with the least losses was REITs losing 0.05per cent to close at 1,327. The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 1.69 per cent to close at 9,092 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Asaleo Care (ASX:AHY), rising 6.34 per cent to close at $1.51. Shares in Bellamy’s Australia (ASX:BAL) and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Virtus Health (ASX:VRT), dropping 17.71 per cent to close at $5.11. Shares in Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) and Navitas Limited (ASX:NVT) also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,202 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.60 lower at $US52.57 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7565.