In the doldrums: Aus shares close 0.96% lower

Market Reports

by Carolyn Herbert

It has been a dismal end to the trading session for the Australian share market, after a poor start to the day. The local bourse dropped at the open and continued to be pushed further underwater as the session went on and ended up closing the day 0.96 per cent lower. While all sectors finished the day in the red, Health Care was the biggest casualty with heavyweight CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) shedding 2.5 per cent. We also saw a retrace in REITs and Industrials. Materials was the best of the bad bunch and closed practically flat.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 55 points down to finish at 5,674.

The value of trades was $5.5 billion on volume of 733 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).

On the futures market the SPI is 54 points down.

Asian markets

Taking a look at how Asian markets are tracking in afternoon trade. The Nikkei is 0.48 per cent lower, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 0.73 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is 0.32 per cent lower.

Economic news

According to the latest data from Westpac, Australian consumer confidence has rebounded in July by 0.4 per cent to a reading of 96.6. This is compared to an almost two per cent decline in June. It’s the first time in three months the index has risen.

Company news

First Graphite Limited (ASX:FGR) says it has received government approvals for its commercial graphene production facility at Henderson in Western Australia. FGR says it will be the first ASX listed company to attain a commercial graphene production capability. Initial capacity will be in the order of 15 tonnes per annum of saleable graphene. Shares in First Graphite closed 16.42 per cent higher at $0.08.

Kidman Resources (ASX:KDR) has formed a joint venture with one of the world’s leading lithium producers, SQM, to develop the Mt Holland Lithium project near Southern Cross in Western Australia.

Growthpoint Properties Australia (ASX:GOZ) has acquired an 18.2 per cent interest in another real estate investment trust, Industria REIT (ASX:IDR) for $68.1 million.

TPI Enterprises (ASX:TPE) has signed an agreement to buy the opiates and tableting division of a European opiate pharmaceuticals company.

Best and worst performers

The sector with the least losses was Materials losing 0.02 per cent to close at 10,052. The worst performing sector was Healthcare, losing 2.12 per cent to close at 22,799 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG), rising 2.71 per cent to close at $1.14. Shares in Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) and Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Mayne Pharma (ASX:MYX), dropping 4.02 per cent to close at $0.96. Shares in FlexiGroup (ASX:FXL) and Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) also closed lower.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,220 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.31 higher at $US45.91 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7651.