The Australian share market shied away from decade highs with selling, profit taking and buy-backs causing the ASX200 to drop below the 6,000-point milestone, losing about 0.9 per cent. We dropped at the open, remaining under the sea of red throughout the session, with the major sectors all in negative territory and Energy leading the drag.
Woodside (ASX:WPL) was heavily sold off today, with total trades of $2 billion. Its shares fell 3.2 per cent. Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) was not that far behind, after it was sold off by a director, and it lost 3 per cent. It is important to note though US crude prices are still strong, around 2 year highs.
Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN) closed lower, leading the Industrial sector down after it lost 3 per cent after announcing a buy-back.
In the materials space, explosives and blasting system giant, Orica (ASX:ORI) also went ex-dividend today, which has seen it lose about 2.8 per cent. BHP (ASX:BHP), Rio (ASX:RIO) and Fortescue (ASX:FMG) all closed lower while Orocobre (ASX:ORE) charged 4 per cent up. Industrial chemical company, Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) also added about 4.8 per cent after its net profit after tax rose 8 per cent on FY2016 to $319 million.
One of the biggest shiners today was Computershare (ASX:CPU) with its shares rising 4.8 per cent after it announced its EPS will rise by 10 per cent on FY17 in FY18
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 53 points down, or 0.88 per cent lower to finish at 5,969.
The value of trades was $9.09 billion on volume of 835 million shares at the close of trade.
The top three stocks by value were Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and NAB (ASX:NAB)
On the futures market the SPI is 53 points down.
Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.4 per cent.
Local economic news
Australian business conditions have surged to its highest level on record, according to NAB’s survey. The sentiment index jumped 7 points to 21 in October, fuelled by spikes in sales and profitability. Meantime, confidence was unchanged at a reading of 8
Metals company, TNG (ASX:TNG) advised its patents for its hydrometallurgical process that extracts and recovers high purity vanadium, has now been approved in the US, and Russia. It follows the company’s TIVAN process receiving patent approval in Australia. The company says approvals in Europe, Vietnam, China and Canada are currently in process. Shares in TNG (ASX:TNG) closed 3.1 per cent higher at $0.17.
ANZ (ASX:ANZ) advised it will be undertaking an on-market purchase of about $120 million ANZ shares to settle employee compensation plans. It also announced its AGM will be on 19 December 2017.
Agribusiness, Ruralco (ASX:RHL) saw its underlying net profit after tax rise 95 per cent to $26.2 million for the full year to September 2017.
And Dreamworld owner, Ardent Leisure (ASX:AAD) appointed Brian Horton as Interim Chief Executive Office (CEO) of its Bowling and Entertainment Division. He has been the division’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the past 3 years.
Ocean Grown Abalone Limited (ASX:OGA) listed today. It floated at 25 cents, opened at 29 cents and closed at 25 cents.
Best and worst performers of the day
The sector with the least losses was Consumer Staples losing 0.3 per cent to close at 9,933.
The worst performing sector was Energy, shedding 2.1 per cent to close at 10,028. points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Speedcast International Limited (ASX:SDA), rising 4.93 per cent to close at $4.90. Shares in Computershare Limited. (ASX:CPU) and Incitec Pivot Limited (ASX:IPL) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was HT&E Limited (ASX:HT1), dropping 4.29 per cent to close at $1.68. Shares in Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) and Sigma Healthcare (ASX: SIG) also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,277 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.04 lower at $US56.94 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.32 US cents.