It has been a negative finish to this Wednesday’s trading session for the Australian share market, with investors selling off their holdings as the end of financial year approaches. The local bourse plunged into the red at the open, but failed to find any direction in afternoon trade and ended up closing the day 1.64 per cent lower. Energy was the biggest casualty today, but Financials were also hit hard with continued selling in all of the big four banks. The Health Care space was the best performer this session, but we also saw some gains in Utilities.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 92 points down to finish at 5,666.
The value of trades was $6.6 billion on volume of 892 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 QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE).
On the futures market the SPI is 83 points down.
Taking a look at how Asian markets are tracking in afternoon trade. The Nikkei is 0.5 per cent lower, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 0.42 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is 0.02 per cent lower.
Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO) has announced that it will defer the development of its Corunna Downs iron ore project. The embattled iron ore producer says Corunna has been deferred due to prevailing market conditions and approvals taking longer than anticipated. Atlas Iron’s FY18 production guidance remains at 9 to 10 million tonnes. Shares in Atlas Iron closed flat at $0.013.
Dexus Property Group (ASX:DXS) has entered into an agreement to buy two Sydney office buildings, while it is also conducting due diligence to buy a core industrial Melbourne property.
AGL Energy Limited (ASX:AGL) has appointed Graeme Hunt as Chairman to succeed Jerry Maycock following his retirement at the company AGM on 27 September 2017.
APA Group (ASX:APA) is announcing plans to build a new gas pipeline and gas-fired power station in the Goldfields region of Western Australia.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Health Care adding 0.43 per cent to close at 24,237. The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 2.57 per cent to close at 8,499 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Cohclear (ASX:COH), rising 3.24 per cent to close at $159.44. Shares in FlexiGroup (ASX:FXL) and Aurizon Holdings (ASX:AZJ) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG), dropping 10.41 per cent to close at $4.56. Shares in QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) and Western Areas (ASX:WSA) also closed lower.
Oliver’s Real Food Limited (ASX:OLI) started trading today. The fast food restaurant franchise listed with an issue price of $0.30, opened at $0.20 and closed at $0.24. Kelly Partners Group Holdings Limited (ASX:KPG) also started trading today. The accounting and tax services provider floated at $1.00, opened at $1.28 and closed at $1.36.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,246 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.07 lower at $US43.36 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7559.