The Australian share market managed to finish the trading day in the black, but not by much this session, despite what was looking like a strong start. The local bourse jumped at the open, following Wall Street’s positive lead, but the ASX200 lost a bit of momentum after lunch and ended up closing the day 0.2 per cent higher. The materials space leaped out of the blocks today and lead the charge throughout the session. Gold stocks were in focus once again, in particular Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU) with stellar gains of around 11 per cent.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 12 points up to finish at 5,786.
The value of trades was $8.4 billion on volume of 1.1 billion 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 National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB).
On the futures market the SPI is 1 point lower.
The trend unemployment rate in Australia was 5.8 per cent in February 2017, according to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Meantime, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 5.9 per cent.
Seymour White Limited (ASX:SWL) says it has received an indicative, non-binding and conditional proposal from VINCI Construction International Network to acquire 100 per cent of the issued shares of the company. The indicative proposal contemplates an indicative price range of $1.36 to $1.43 per Seymour White share. The board of Seymour White has cautioned shareholders not to make any decisions yet with respect to their Seymour White shares. Shares in Seymour White closed 21.82 per cent higher at $1.34.
Myer Holdings (ASX:MYR) has entered a two-year contract with retail payment platform provider, Afterpay Holdings Ltd (ASX:AFY).
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released a Statement of Issues outlining its concerns about Caltex Australia’s (ASX:CTX) proposed acquisition of 46 service stations from Milemaker Petroleum in Victoria.
Drug development company, Noxopharm (ASX:NOX), has entered a research agreement with the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Materials adding 2.47 per cent to close at 10,013. The worst performing sector was Financials, losing 1.12 per cent to close at 6,742 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) rising 9.83 per cent to close at $2.57. Shares in Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) and Saracen Minerals (ASX:SAR) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Myer Holdings (ASX:MYR), dropping 5.26 per cent to close at $1.08. Shares in Sky Network (ASX:SKT) and Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX) also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,225 an ounce. Light crude is $0.50 up at $US49.50 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7688.