Cat and mouse with 6,000: ASX200 closes 5 points lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

It was a tantalising Tuesday for the Australian share market, with the ASX200 rising above the 6,000 point milestone at 12.30pm and losing momentum in afternoon trade after Wall Street futures dropped, suggesting US stocks would open lower.

Nevertheless, over half of the market saw gains today but sour afternoon sentiment saw a few more sectors entering negative territory.

Telcos slipped after Telstra (ASX:TLS) fell 2 per cent. While the miners also saw heavy selling with a drop in the iron ore price shaking things up. Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) lost almost 3 per cent while BHP (ASX:BHP) slipped about 2 per cent, despite it announcing a suite of cost savings.

In the Financials, NAB (ASX:NAB) and Westpac (ASX:WBC) fell the most out of the banks.

On the flip side, advertising rivals Oohmedia (ASX:OML) gained over 4 per cent and APN Outdoor (ASX:APO) rose over 3 per cent, racing to the finish line. In the Real estate space, there was also a bit of shine with Dexus (ASX:DXS) and IOOF (ASX:IOF) rising over 2 per cent.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 5 points lower, or 0.08 per cent lower to finish at 5,984.

The value of trades was $6.7 billion on volume of 942 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), South32 (ASX:S32) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).

On the futures market the SPI is 6 points up.

More company news

Global education provider Navitas (ASX:NVT) announced an 8 per cent rise in student enrolments in third semester of 2017, which took its full time students to 16,220. Shares in Navitas (ASX:NVT) closed 0.4 per cent higher at $5.08.

BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) announced a raft of plans to improve its Australian operations, such as dropping its unit costs by a further 10 per cent over the medium term and delivering US$1.6 billion of additional productivity gains over the next two years.

Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) has reaffirmed its FY18 EBITDA will be in the range of $1.7 to $1.8 billion, while its net debt will reduce to below $7 billion while, it will target more output in clean energy, to meet Australia’s growing need.

And embattled law firm, Slater and Gordon (ASX:SGH) shares rose 36 per cent after it reported its creditors’ schemes were approved and passed. At the same time it also announced a claimant meeting had been adjourned.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Utilities adding 1.5 per cent to close at 8,578.
The worst performing sector was Telcos, shedding 1.3 per cent to close at 1,229. points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was National Storage Reit (ASX:NSR), rising 4.15 per cent to close at $1.63. Shares in Ooh!Media Limited (ASX:OML) and Flexigroup Limited (ASX:FXL) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Syrah Resources Limited (ASX:SYR), dropping 3.99 per cent to close at $4.09. Shares in Treasury Wine Estates Limited (ASX:TWE) and Beach Energy Limited (ASX:BPT) also closed lower. 

Asian markets

Asian markets are lower: Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has slipped 0.8 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.5 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,295 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.10 lower at $US57.85 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.11 US cents.