Losing steam: Aus market shares close 0.23% lower

Market Reports

by Liz Pal

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Aussie shares finished off lower today. We opened in the red on the back of weak leads from US tech stocks, but the local bourse clawed back some of its early losses, however slipped after midday and fell short of breaking even at the closing bell.

As for the sectors, Telcos, Consumer Dictionaries and Utilities held their head above water. US Giant Amazon Australia launched today, but it didn't stop JB Hi-Fi (ASX:JBH) and Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN) rising more than 5 percent. But the unlucky sectors included Financials and Healthcare, with the likes of Westpac (ASX:WBC) falling just over 1 per cent.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 14 points lower to finish at 5,972.

The value of trades was $6 billion on volume of 780 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), ANZ (ASX:ANZ) and Westpac (ASX:WBC).

On the futures market the SPI is 18 points lower.

In local economic news

The RBA has decided to leave the cash rate on hold at 1.5 perfect, as expected, sparing mortgage holders a pre-Christmas interest rate hike.

The Reserve Bank noted inflation has remains low, with both CPI and underlying inflation running a little below 2 per cent, while the Australian dollar has remained within its two year range.

Australia’s Current Account Deficit dropped to $9.1 billion, beating expectations it would fall further.

Retail trade grew 0.5 per cent in October, also surpassing expectations it would grow by 0.3 per cent.

Company news

Freedom Oil & Gas (ASX:FDM) have banked a $22.5million share placement. A total of 112, 500,000 fully paid ordinary shares will be issued at $0.20 per share. The oversubscribed placement will be used to support drilling and completion of Freedom's next four Eagle Ford wells. Together with existing cash and production revenue, the company will look to secure additional Eagle Cost acerage. Shares in Freedom Oil & Gas (ASX:FDM) closed 5.66 per cent lower at $0.25.

Big UN (ASX:BIG) has announced Finstro, an SME cash flow management company, as the first sponsor for their Big Review TV channel on Apple TV. The social media video review platform is looking to launch the channel this month, and will initially feature a catalogue of BIG's SME video content. The BIG Apple TV channel will cover 10 minute reviews on health, beauty, lifestyle and travel. Shares in Big UN (ASX:BIG) closed 4.87per cent lower at $3.71.

Tatts Group (ASX:TTS) advised its shares could cease trading on 13 December 2017, if Court and shareholder approval is granted to merge with Tabcorp (ASX:TAH). Its bonds, (Tatts Bonds (ASX:TTSHA)) will remain on the ASX though.

Property fund manager Centuria Capital Group (ASX:CNI) has seen in funds under management grow over 13 per cent to $4.4 billion in the first half of this financial year. Its property valuations increased $115 million over the same period.

And insurance broking network Steadfast Group (ASX:SDF) has raised $100 million in an institutional share placement. More than 35 million ordinary shares will be issued at a price of $2.83 per share, where proceeds will go towards tthe acquisition of the Whitebread Insurance Group.

IPOs

Spheria Emerging Companies Limited (ASX:SEC) started trading today. It floated with an issue price of $2.00, opened at $2.00 and last traded at $1.97.

To the best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Telcos adding 2.62 per cent to close at 1, 296.
The worst performing sector was Financials excluding REITs, shedding 0.49 per cent to close at 7183. points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was JB HI Fi (ASX:JBH), rising 6.76 per cent to close at $25.73. Shares in Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN) and Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Galaxy Resources (ASX:XXX), dropping 6.01 per cent to close at $3.60. Shares in Altium LTD (ASX:ALU) and Cleanaway Waste Management (ASX:CWY) also closed lower.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.27 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has dropped 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.06 cent.

To commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,275 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.92 lower at $US57.44 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.54 US cents.