Despite a strong start to the trading day for the Australian share market, things took a turn for the worst in afternoon trade and the local bourse ended up closing the session practically flat or 0.1 per cent lower. The market was dragged down by the financials space, with all of the big four banks finishing the day in negative territory. These loses were offset however with gains in the materials space, in particular in the big miners and in the gold stocks.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 6 points lower to finish at 5,755.
The value of trades was $5 billion on volume of 734 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO).
On the futures market the SPI is 10 points down.
National Veterinary Care Limited (ASX:NVL) has announced the acquisition of two veterinary clinics in Australia and two in New Zealand, due to be settled before the end of April. The total cash consideration for the acquisition comes to $4 million. These acquisitions will bring the company’s total number of integrated vet businesses to 54. Shares in National Vet Care closed 1.46 per cent higher at $2.08.
Treasury Wine Estates’ (ASX:TWE) net profit after tax (NPAT) more than doubled to $136.2 million as outlined in its latest half year results.
Investment management firm, Challenger Ltd (ASX:CGF), has reported its statutory NPAT dropped 14% to $202 million in 1H17.
IMF Bentham (ASX:IMF) is expecting to earn $7.8 million in revenue, after a case it funded had a successful outcome at a US Federal Court.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was REITs adding 0.9 per cent to close at 1,370. The worst performing sector was Telcos, losing 1 per cent to close at 1,811 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Aconex (ASX:ACX), rising 8.53 per cent to close at $4.07. Shares in South 32 (ASX:S32) and CSR Limited (ASX:CSR) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE), dropping 4.71 per cent to close at $11.33. Shares in Cochlear Limited (ASX:COH) and Aurizon Limited (ASX:AZJ) also closed lower.
e-Sense Lab Limited (ASX:ESE) started trading today. The technology and development company listed with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.245 and closed at $0.255.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,229 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.96 lower at $US53.37 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7677.