N Korea overshadows positive eco news: Aus shares close 0.39% lower

Market Reports

by David Murdoch

It has been a negative day of trade for the Australian share market, kicking off the trading week in the red.

The local bourse dived at the open, defying expectations of a rise, with North Korea tension weighing down on the local bourse.

A bout of economic news with mining exploration and jobs ads saw the ASX200 slightly erased some early losses though, but selling across the board continued throughout the session, before the market closed 0.39% lower.

The biggest weight was the Utilites space. Shares in the Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) led the financials lower too, after several institutional investors sold down their substantial holdings when the AUSTRAC matter was put before The Federal Court.

The big four banks also announced a raft of changes at the board level. Closing off the day, REITs overtook Telcos with the most gains.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 23 points lower to finish at 5,702.

The value of trades was $3.6 billion on volume of 525 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 Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG).

On the futures market the SPI is 19 points lower.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.87 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.51 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.26 per cent.

Local economic news

The ABS revealed its ‘Business Indicators’ publication for the June quarter, with businesses profits and inventory falling while total wages rose.

The ABS also announced mineral exploration jumped 6.6 per cent in the June quarter in trend terms. The largest contributor to the lift was Western Australia’s exploration which rose 6.5 per cent or $17.4 million in the quarter.

Company news

Junior iron ore company, NSL Consolidated (ASX:NSL) has announced record sales of wet plant product filter cake for the month of August. The company dispatched a record 5,000 tonnes and expects sales to continue to further increase month on month throughout 2017. Shares in NSL Consolidated (ASX:NSL) closed 21.05 per cent higher to 2 cents.

In the wake of the AUSTRAC debacle, the Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) has appointed, risk management expert, Robert Whitfield to its board of directors.

CIMIC Group's (ASX:CIM) global mining services provider, Thiess, has been awarded a seven year, coal mining contract in Indonesia which will generated $437 million. Meantime back home, their contractors have been awarded a $365 million contract to upgrade the Pacific Highway in northern New South Wales.

And, Ansell (ASX:ANN) has closed the sale of its sexual wellness business for US$600 million.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was REITs adding 0.15 per cent to close at 1.322.

The worst performing sector was Utiliteis, shedding 1.27 per cent to close at 8,355 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Vocus Group Limited (ASX:VOC), rising 5.26 per cent to close at $2.40. Shares in Whitehaven Coal Limited (ASX:WHC) and Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX:GXY) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sky Network Television (ASX:SKT), dropping 6.40 per cent to close at $2.34. Shares in Nine Entertainment Co. Holdings (ASX:NEC) and Super Retail Group Limited (ASX:SUL) also closed lower.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,338 an ounce.
Light crude is 6 cents higher at $US47.29 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 79.56 US cents.