It has been a lack lustre end to the trading session for the Australian share market, opening in the red and continuing to linger there throughout the session before closing practically flat or 0.03 per cent lower. The materials space was hit the hardest this session with losses across the board in particular with BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and South32 (ASX;S32). The financials space was one of the better performers this session with gains in three out of the big four banks with CBA the only one to buck the trend closing 0.4 per cent lower.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 2 points lower to finish at 5,760.
The value of trades was $5 billion on volume of 792 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).
On the futures market the SPI is 9 points down.
Brambles Limited (ASX:BXB) has announced a streamlining of the organisational structure of its North America pallets business, which comprises pooled pallet operations in the USA and Canada. The flatter structure aims at bringing Brambles' CEO closer to the businesses and further enabling greater consistency of approach. Shares in Brambles closed 1.39 per cent down at $9.20.
Downer EDI (ASX:DOW) has signed a deal to acquire the construction, infrastructure and project management businesses of Hawkins in New Zealand.
Perth-based company, Nuheara (ASX:NUH), has entered into deals with US retailers, Amazon and Brookstone, to expand its retail presence and sell its next-generation earbuds, called IQbuds.
The Takeovers Panel has refused to conduct proceedings in relation to the affairs of mining services provider Macmahon Holdings (ASX:MAH), which is currently subject to a takeover bid by CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM).
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Telcos adding 0.6 per cent to close at 1,651. The worst performing sector was Materials, losing 0.8 per cent to close at 9,903 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Qube Holdings (ASX:QUB), rising 3.06 per cent to close at $2.36. Shares in Ardent Leisure (ASX:AAD) and Regis Health (ASX:REG) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Bellamys (ASX:BAL), dropping 3.9 per cent to close at $3.94. Shares in Alumina (ASX:AWC) and Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN) also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,218 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.41 lower at $US0.5279 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7593.