Trade surplus & ex-dividends toll: Aus shares close flat

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market closed in the black, by the skin of its teeth with half of the sectors closing higher.

After a sharp rise at the open, following leads from Wall Street, the local bourse lost momentum in the afternoon with weaker than expected economic news taking its toll, coupled with a basket of stocks that went ex-dividend today, or declared they would be paying dividends.

Telstra (ASX:TLS) led the Telcos space higher after it chimed over 2.7 per cent higher, while utilities and energy also mustered up steam.



On the flip side, consumer staples, healthcare and materials closed lower with Woolworths (ASX:WOW) shedding over 1.7 per cent, while BHP (ASX:BHP) lost 1.4 per cent, after they went ex-div.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.2 points up, flat at 5,690.

The value of trades was $5.7 billion on volume of 799 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 Telstra (ASX:TLS).

On the futures market the SPI is 4 points up.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has shed 0.2 per cent.

Local economic news

The ABS reported saw its international trade balance slump by $250 million June’s surplus. The surplus balance on exports and imports, fell to $768 million, shy of the $900 million surplus expected.

Retail turnover for July, rose 0.3 per cent, in trend terms and as expected. It was also slightly less than June’s 0.4 per cent gain in trend terms.

Company news 

APN Outdoor Group (ASX:APO) has finalised its new $200 million debt facility. The outdoor advertising company inked the facility with Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA), Westpac Bank (ASX:WBC) and the Bank of China with three and five year tranches. There is also $79 million in headroom under the new facility, which includes cash. Shares in APN Outdoor Group (ASX:APO) closed 0.22 per cent higher at $4.50.

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has increased its coal reserve estimates by about 50 per cent, compared to its 2016 annual report at the Kestrel underground longwall mine in Queensland. The heavy weight increased its reserves by 62 million tonnes (mt), from 123mt to 185mt.

Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) snapped up Australia’s largest provider of medication management services for aged care residents for $18.5 million and also recorded net profit after tax of $27.8 million in FY17.

And Eagle Health Care (ASX:EHH) signed a deal during BRICS 2017 conference, to focus on affordable nutrition in China and Africa, all to help Type 2 Diabetes sufferers and develop a healthy vending machine program.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Telcos adding 2.48 per cent to close at 1,308.
The worst performing sector was Staples, shedding 0.78 per cent to close at 9,419 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Orocobre (ASX:ORE), rising 4.88 per cent to close at $4.08. Shares in Sky Network Television (ASX:SKT) and Aconex (ASX:ACX) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Healthscope (ASX:HSO), dropping 3.28 per cent to close at $1.62. Shares in Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) and Ardent Leisure Group (ASX:AAD) also closed lower.

IPOs

Galena Mining (ASX: G1A) started trading today. The lead-acid battery company for vehicle transport fleets floated with an issue price of 20 cents, opened at 24.5 cents and it closed at 24 cents.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,335 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.49 up at $US49.15 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 79.81 US cents.
 

Jessica Amir

Finance News Network
Jessica joined FNN in January 2017 after having worked in financial advising for seven years and in TV journalism for seven years, specialising in finance, equities and analysis. She has interviewed former Prime Ministers of Australia, Tony Abbott, Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd and ex Treasurer Jo Hockey. Jessica has worked as a journalist with Sky News Business, ABC 1, ABC's The Business, ABC24 and has also been a regional Channel 7 and 9 TV reporter with Prime7 and Win News.