It has been a dismal end to the trading session for the Australian share market, with the local bourse being sold off towards the end of the session and closing the day 1.1 per cent lower. While most sectors finished the day in negative territory, it was the Financials space that was the biggest weight on the index, with some solid selling in all of the big four banks. We also losses of around 1.4 per cent in REITs and Health Care. Materials was the only sector to finish higher today, thanks to a jump in commodity prices, particularly gold overnight.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 65 points down to finish at 5,786.
The value of trades was $5.6 billion on volume of 863 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
, National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB)
and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
On the futures market the SPI is 75 points down.Asian markets
Taking a look at how Asian markets are tracking in afternoon trade. The Nikkei is 0.63 per cent lower, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 0.11 per cent and Shanghai is 0.22 per cent lower.Economic news
Australian wages have increased 0.5 per cent for the March quarter 2017 seasonally adjusted, according to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Wages grew 1.9 per cent over the past 12 months. Western Australia recorded the lowest through the year wage growth and Tasmania the highest.Company news
Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX:SRX)
went into an immediate trading halt at noon. The liver cancer treatment company says the halt was requested to provide it with sufficient time to review and assess the implications on the business of soon to be released data relating to SIRFLOX. The company believes this information will be material and the announcement will be released to the market on Friday at the latest. Shares in Sirtex Medical Limited last traded at $15.00.
Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES)
says an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of its Officeworks business would not be in the best interests of its shareholders, at this point in time.
has reported its net profit after tax rose 14.2% in the six months to 31 March 2017, to $72.7 million.
Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN)
reported a gross loss of US$22.2 million for the nine months to 31 March 2017, compared to its gross profit of US$25.7 million for the prior corresponding period.Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Materials adding 0.55 per cent to close at 9,741. The worst performing sector was Financials excluding REITs, losing 1.8 per cent to close at 7,292 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN)
, rising 6.45 per cent to close at $10.07. Shares in Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC)
and Saracen Minerals (ASX:SAR)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY)
, dropping 7.07 per cent to close at $0.46. Shares in Bellamy’s (ASX:BAL)
and Southern Cross Media (ASX:SXC)
also closed lower.Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,243 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.60 lower at $US48.56 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7431.