It has been a subdued day of trade for the Australian share market. After opening in the black, the local bourse quickly entered negative territory after the oil price fell and QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) shares hit multi-year lows. It comes as the insurance company announced it would see its ‘costliest year’ amid the impact of the recent Hurricanes.
Mostly all the sectors finished in the red today in the wake of the horrific shooting in Las Vegas. Energy led the decliners, followed by Financials with Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) losing almost 5.5 per cent and CBA (ASX:CBA) falling about 1.6 per cent.
The only sector bucking the trend, and closing up was Telcos, with Vocus Group (ASX:VOC) shares rising.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 28 points down, or 0.49 per cent lower to finish at 5,701.
The value of trades was $4.1 billion on volume of 618 million shares at the close of trade.
The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), ANZ (ASX:ANZ), and Westpac (ASX:WBC).
On the futures market the SPI is 34 points lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.85 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has reopened and is 1.63 per cent higher, while the Shanghai Composite are not trading due to public holiday.
Local economic news
The RBA board kept interest rates on hold as expected. The monetary statement noted the Australian economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the June quarter consistent with bank’s expectation. It also noted growth will gradually pick up over the coming year. The market is expecting a hike in late 2018. The markets didn’t really respond at all to the decision, as it was largely factored in.
And the ABS reported building approvals rose 1.1 per cent in August in trend terms, while seasonally adjusted dwelling approvals grew by 0.4 per cent in the month. It beat the expected fall in seasonally adjusted dwelling approvals.
IMF Bentham (ASX:IMF) has launched two new investment vehicles with $150 million in committed capital for future investments in Australia, Asia, Canada and Europe. IMF says it’s a significant milestone for the law firm as it transitions to managing third party capital. Shares in IMF Bentham (ASX:IMF) closed 1.49 per cent higher at $2.05.
QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) increased its large individual risk and catastrophe claims allowance, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Maria and the Mexican Earthquakes to $1.75 billion. QBE says it will be the ‘costliest year’ in the history and will see a $600 million pre-tax impact on earnings.
iSelect (ASX:ISU) has announced it's expansion into the south-east Asian market with a majority interest in iMoney.
And Sonic Healthcare’s (ASX:SHL) UK joint venture, Health Services Laboratories won an exclusive contract to provide a pathology clinical laboratory service for two of London’s hospitals.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was Telcos adding 0.35 per cent to close at 1,227.
The worst performing sector was Energy, shedding 0.96 per cent to close at 9,229. points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY), rising 5.84 per cent to close at $2.90. Shares in Healthscope (ASX:HSO) and Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was HT&E (ASX:HT1), dropping 12.20 per cent to close at $1.80. Shares in Technology One (ASX:TNE) and APN Outdoor Group (ASX:APO) also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,269 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.10 lower at $US50.57 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.98 US cents.