It has been a mostly uninspiring day of trade for the Australian share market with the ASX200 dancing below the 5900 point mark, failing to live up to the market’s pent up excitement to reach the hurdle.
The local bourse defied the strong leads from Wall Street at the open and dived into the red, ending the week’s rally. But after midday, the market absorbed some better than expected news and pushed higher after China’s manufacturing sector rose to a reading of 51.8 in March. The rally from that good data was short lived though, with losses across the majority of the sectors dragging down the bourse, before it closed 0.53% lower.
Early steam came from Utilites, Telcos and healthcare, but the health sector slid in afternoon trade, leaving just two sectors to prop up the market, with the likes of Telstra Corporation (ASX:TLS) peddling 1% ahead.
REITs produced lacklustre results throughout the day and took the cake as the worst performing sector, with the likes of Goodman Group (ASX:GMG) tumbling 2%.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 31points down to finish at 5,865.
The value of trades
The value of trades was $6.5 billion on volume of 764 million shares at the close of trade.
The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC). That was almost a mirror of yesterday’s trades, excluding WBC.
On the futures market the SPI is 13 points down.
The US major indices rose over the four trading days this week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has added 0.64 %. The S&P 500 Index has gained 1.02 %. The NASDAQ has lifted 1.45 %. The 100 Index has added 1.3 per cent.
The Federal Court of Australia has approved a scheme of arrangement which involves Zurich Insurance Company Ltd purchasing all the shares in travel insurance company, Cover-More Group Limited (ASX:CVO). The scheme or purchase is expected to be effective on Monday 3 April 2017, when Cover-More lodges the court approval with ASIC. Cover-More shares will be suspended after the market closes on the 3 April 2017. Shares in Cover-More Group Limited (ASX:CVO) closed 0.26% per cent lower at $1.95.
More company news
Hitachi Construction Machinery Co Limited has announced it has started to compulsorily acquire all of the outstanding Bradken Limited (ASX:BKN) shares.
Redflex Holdings Limited (ASX:RDF) announced the Roads & Maritime Services (RMS) has granted it a one year contract extension, which will generate $13 million for the traffic innovation company.
Emeco Holdings (ASX:EHL) announced it completed the recapitalisation and mergers with Andy's Earthmovers and Orionstone Holdings, which will see the earthmoving equipment company’s pro forma adjusted 2016 financial year EBIDA hit $110 million. The changes will also significantly enhanced Emeco’s capital structure.
The best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was Telcos adding 0.79 per cent to close at 1,649.
The worst performing sector was REITS, losing 1.49 per cent to close at 1,380 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Nextdc Limited (ASX:NXT) rising 3.03% to close at $4.08. Shares in Bellay’s (ASX:BAL) and Iluka Resources (ASX:ILU) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Nanosonics (ASX:NAN), dropping 3.13% to close at $3.10. Shares in Fairfax Media (ASX:FXJ) and Goodman Group (ASX:GMG) also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,242 an ounce.
Light crude is 74 cents higher at $US50.33 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying 76.46 US cents.