It has been a sour close for the Australian share market today, but we saw the ASX200 close higher over the week. Today’s selling came on the back of negative leads from Wall Street, after corporate tax cuts were delayed, while the iron ore price fell, dragging down our miners, leaving the Materials as the worst performer.
Out of the big miners, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) took the biggest blow falling 2.2 per cent while BHP (ASX:BHP) was about 2 per cent down. The energy sector also held us back, after Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) went ex-dividend and fell almost 5 per cent.
Just two sectors closed in the black today with Reits and Discretionaries gaining. The majority of property funds rose with Westfield Corporation (ASX:WFD) continuing its run from yesterday, after it reported a stronger third quarter. Furniture retailer, Adairs (ASX:ADH) also shone gaining over 7.6 per cent
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 20 points down, or 0.30 per cent lower to finish at 6,029. Over the week we gained 70 points.
The value of trades was $4.6 billion on volume of 586 million shares at the close of trade.
The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) and Westpact Bank (ASX:WBC).
On the futures market the SPI is 25 points lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.9 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is flat and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.05 per cent.
Wall Street wrapped up the four trading days this week mixed: The Dow Jones lost 0.3 per cent, The S&P 500 fell 0.1 per cent and the tech heavy Nasdaq lost 0.2 per cent, while the 100 index added 0.3 per cent.
Local economic news
The Statement of Monetary Policy was released by the RBA, noting the Australian economy is expected to expand at a solid pace over the next couple of years. It also noted the drag on mining investment has now eased and ‘is likely to end next year or so’. The RBA said although inflation and wage growth has remained low, it should gradually increase over time. That news was absorbed well by the market and we started to claw back some of our early losses.
Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA) announced plans to unconditionally takeover Australia’s largest supplier of locally grown peanuts, Peanut Company of Australia (PCA). As part of the deal Bega will subscribe to about 20 per cent of PCA’s shares for $1.9 million. After that Australian dairy company will make a $10 million takeover bid. PCA is also renowned for its peanut research programs. Shares in Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA) closed about 0.4 per cent lower at $7.29.
And outdoor furniture designer and manufacturer, OneAll International (ASX:1AL) has upgraded its production capacity to meet its surging sales. As part of the update it will deliver $17 million in additional revenue over four years, with a net present benefit of $4 million. The facility expansion in China will also grow its production by 20 per cent. Its shares last traded at $0.96.
News Corp (ASX:NWS) reported a 5 per cent rise in revenues to $2.1 billion in the first quarter of the 2018 financial year, compared to the prior year. In more good news for the media giant, its total segment EBITDA soared 92 per cent to $249 million also over the same period.
The JV project with Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) and AWE (ASX:AWE) delivered what they are calling ‘excellent gas flows’ at their onshore Perth basin Waitsia field. Its flow testing hit a maximum gas flow rate of 27.7 million standard cubic feet per day, proving it’s an outstanding reservoir system.
And Dexus (ASX:DXS) successfully priced and raised $653 million through a long-dated US private placement.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was Reits adding 1 per cent to close at 1,413.
The worst performing sector was Materials, shedding 1.4 per cent to close at 11,037. points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was HT&E (ASX:HT1), rising 6.46 per cent to close at $1.73. Shares in Janus Henderson Group (ASX:JHG) and News Corporation (ASX:NWS) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN), dropping 4.51 per cent to close at $18.00. Shares in CSR Limited (ASX:CSR) and Alumina (ASX:AWC) also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,285 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.21 up at $US57.26 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.81 US cents.