It has been a positive end to the trading day for the Australian share market, albeit by the skin of its teeth. The local bourse struggled for direction throughout the session, but ended up closing the day 0.16 per cent higher. Energy was the biggest drag on the index this session, followed by losses in Utilities and Consumer Staples. The Industrials space was the star performer this session and we also saw some modest gains in Financials and Healthcare.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 10 points up to finish at 5,922.
The value of trades was $5.3 billion on volume of 761 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 ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ).
On the futures market the SPI is 9 points up.
Taking a look at how Asian markets are tracking in afternoon trade. The Nikkei is 0.2 per cent lower, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 0.4 per cent and Shanghai Composite is up 0.3 per cent.
Fonterra Shareholders Fund (ASX:FSF) says milk production remains soft in Europe, but the rate of decline is easing. The New Zealand based milk producer also cited a decline in NZ exports for a third straight month. Milk production in Australia was down 7 per cent for the year to January, however rose 2 per cent in the US. Shares in Fonterra closed 0.18 per cent up at $5.54.
Ten Network Holdings (ASX:TEN) has reported a half year net loss attributable to members of $232.2 million.
Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES) has announced its coal production for the quarter ending 31 March 2017 has fallen 1.5% from the prior period.
Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) has announced a 5% drop in production in the March 2017 quarter, compared to the prior period.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Industrials adding 0.75 per cent to close at 5,449. The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 1.7 per cent to close at 9,195 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Orocobre (ASX:ORE), rising 7.3 per cent to close at $2.94. Shares in St Barbara (ASX:SBM) and Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Santos (ASX:STO), dropping 5.49 per cent to close at $3.44. Shares in Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) and Alumina (ASX:AWC) also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,266 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.16 lower at $US49.21 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7487.