Financials drag: Aus shares close 0.13% lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

It has been a sluggish start to the trading week, with the ASX200 losing some of the steam from last week, but still holding above 6,020. We fell at the open on the back of soft leads from Wall Street, but we stayed under water, as two of the major banks, Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) went ex-dividend today. IRESS (ASX:IRE) was also sold off after it announced it's expecting soft segment profit for the 2017 finanical year. 

That of course dragged down Financials. But Industrials, Healthcare, Energy and Telcos also saw selling too.

Meantime, the other half of the market pushed higher and Utilites outshone Materials as the stand out sector, with the likes of Bluglass (ASX:BLG) gaining 2.5 per cent and AGL (ASX:AGL) adding 1 per cent.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 8 points up, or 0.13 per cent lower to finish at 6,022

The value of trades was $4.8 billion on volume of 555 million shares at the close of trade.

The top three stocks by value were Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC), Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBC).

On the futures market the SPI is flat.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.3 per cent.

Local economic news

Personal finance rose 1.1 per cent in September from August, in trend terms according to the ABS, while Commercial finance went the other way, falling 1.5 per cent in the month.

Company news 

Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) has issued a notice of termination to US listed, TransAlta for operations at the mining giant‘s gas fired power plant, South Headland Power Station in the Pilbara in WA. Fortescue says it axed TransAlta as it was not satisfied with the New York Listed energy company’s performance. Despite that FMG says the Port Headland operation is still supplying full power from other supplies. Shares in Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) closed 0.2 per cent lower at $4.85.

Digital breast cancer detection company, Volpara Health Technologies (ASX:VHT) has received regulatory clearance approval for its medical device in Japan. Shares in Volpara Health Technologies (ASX:VHT) closed 2.99 per cent higher at $0.69.

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) completed a $750 million off-market buy back at $63.67, which is a 14 discount to its market price. It forms part of its US$2.5 billion buy-back programme, to return the sale proceeds of the Coal & Allied business to Rio Tinto shareholders

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (ASX:FPH) has won a patent case against ResMed (ASX:RMD) in a UK Court. The case relates to Fisher & Paykel contesting three of ResMed’s European patents in the UK.

And Lithium and gold miner, Kidman Resources (ASX:KDR) has inked a deal to sell its share capital of its Coolgardie Mining Company, in WA for an initial $121,000, plus $20 per ounce for the first 55,000 ounces sold from the Burbanks mine.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Materials adding 0.6 per cent to close at 11,099.
The worst performing sector was Industrials, shedding 0.6 per cent to close at 6,050. points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Syrah Resources Limited (ASX:SYR), rising 10.08 per cent to close at $4.04 Shares in BT Investment Management Limited (ASX:BTT) and The A2 Milk Company Limited (ASX:A2M) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Iress Limited (ASX:IRE), dropping 4.95 per cent to close at $10.95. Shares in Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN) and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) also closed lower.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,277 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.41 lower at $US56.98 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.59 US cents.