Flat finish: Aus shares close 0.08% lower

Market Reports

by Clive Tompkins

It was a flat close for the Australian share market today. We dipped into negative territory at the open on the back of a slip in the Iron Ore price and that saw Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) lose over 1.2 per cent.

Selling in TPG Telecom (ASX:TPM) also put a lid on gains today, with the Telco giant losing over 6 per cent.

In good news though, just under half of our sectors were positive, with HealthCare leading the charge after CSL jumped over 2 per cent.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed just 5 points down or 0.08% lower to 5,708.

The value of trades was $4.7 billion on volume of 659 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were ANZ Banking Group Limited (ASX:ANZ), Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) and BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP).

On the futures market the SPI is 6 points down.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.35 per cent.

Company news

Tatts Group (ASX:TTS) and Tabcorp (ASX:TAH) both entered a trading halt at 2pm ahead of the Federal Court of Australia handing down its judgement today about their proposed merger. It comes as the Court was reviewing both the applications from ACCC and CrownBet, on the combination of the company. Just last week, the Supreme Court of Victoria ordered Tatts (ASX:TTS) shareholders to vote on the proposed merger. Shares in Tatts Group (ASX:TTS) closed 0.37 per cent higher at $4.08 before entering into the halt.

Seven Group Holdings (ASX:SVW) has snapped up 100 per cent of the Coates Hire group. The group purchased the remaining 53.3 per cent of Coates for $517 million.

Nib holdings (ASX:NHF) has snapped up Australia’s only specialist corporate group health insurer, GU Health, for $155.5 million. Nib purchased the company from Australian Unity (ASX:AYU).

And Mirvac (ASX:MGR) has issued US$400 million in European medium term notes.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Health Care, adding 1.2 per cent to close at 22,688.

The worst performing sector was Telcos, shedding 1.45 per cent to close at 1,268 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Seven Group Holdings Limited (ASX:SVW), rising 9.84 per cent to close at $12.68. Shares in Brambles Limited (ASX:BXB) and Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX:HVN) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was TPG Telecom Limited (ASX:TPM), dropping 6.74 per cent to close at $5.12. Shares in Asaleo Care Limited (ASX:AHY) and Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia Limited (ASX:GMA) also closed lower.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,314 an ounce.

Light crude is $0.07 down at $US50.28 barrel.

One Australian dollar is buying 80.42 US cents.