It has been a disappointing start to the week for the Australian share market, falling into the red at the open and tracking sideways for the rest of the session, closing 0.57 per cent lower. While most sectors finished the day in negative territory, it was the Financials space which proved to be the biggest drag on the market, followed by losses in Materials and Telcos. Energy bucked the trend today, but closed only around 0.2 per cent higher.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 33 points down to finish at 5,755.
The value of trades was $5.8 billion on volume of 772 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 31 points down.
Taking a look at how Asian markets are tracking in afternoon trade. The Nikkei is 0.15 per cent higher, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 0.25 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is 0.5 per cent lower.
According to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics gross operating profits for companies in Australia rose 6 per cent for the March quarter, seasonally adjusted. We also saw a recovery in the mining sector with gross operating profits rising 13 per cent, seasonally adjusted.
Australian Vintage Limited (ASX:AVG) says it crushed 93,000 tonnes of grapes from the 2017 vintage, compared to 99,000 tonnes last year. The company has put the decrease down to a reduction in volumes processed for external customers. Actual dollar sales for the company’s three key brands including McGuigan and Tempus Two were down by 8 per cent due to unfavourable exchange rates, despite a 5 per cent increase in sales to the end of April 2017. Shares in Australian Vintage closed 1.05 per cent lower at $0.47.
Genex Power Limited (ASX:GNX) says the Queensland Government will inject $150 million into clean energy, which will give a much needed boost to the development of Genex Power’s projects.
Medibio Limited (ASX:MEB) has appointed world champion swimmer and mental health advocate, Michael Phelps to its Board.
Cancer drug development company Noxopharm Limited (ASX:NOX) has found that after 14 continuous days use of its NOX66 drug, there were no untoward side-effects.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Energy adding 0.2 per cent to close at 9,359. The worst performing sector was Financials, losing 1.5 per cent to close at 7,052 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Vocus Group (ASX:VOC) , rising 4.33 per cent to close at $2.89. Shares in Costa Group (ASX:CGC) and Aconex (ASX:ACX) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG), dropping 11.3 per cent to close at $4.63. Shares in Metcash (ASX:MTS) and Asaleo Care (ASX:AHY) also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,280 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.70 lower at $US47.66 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7460.