Profit taking tolls first day back: Aus shares close flat

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market closed flat today, and despite bouncing in and out of record territory. The ASX200 raced to pre-2008 highs, but lost momentum, with over half of the sectors closing in red territory after selling in Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC) GUD Holdings, Cleanaway (ASX:CWY), Chorus (ASX:CNU) and Seven West Media capped gains.

We only saw about half the amount of trades that the ASX normally sees with holiday makers still away.

Despite that, there were some good runs on the board in the commodity space. The Energy sector fuelled the most after the oil price jumped after an Libyan oil pipeline blast. The likes of Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) rose over 1.6 per cent.

Mining companies also rallied after the iron ore price strengthened. Lynas (ASX:LYC) shares rose over 6.9 per cent, St Barbara (ASX:SBM) and Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) added over 4 per cent.

But Gloria Jeans and Brumby's Bakery owner, Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) gained the most again today up 9 per cent.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.2 points up. A flat close at 6,070.

The value of trades was $2.4 billion on volume of 334 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)

On the futures market the SPI is 4 points down.

Company news now

Tatts (ASX:TTS) shares officially ceased trading on the ASX after it merged and was bought out by Tabcorp (ASX:TAH), creating an $11.3 billion gaming empire. Tatts shareholders received 0.8 new Tabcorp shares shares and 26.5 cents cash. Tabcorp shares closed 1 per cent higher at $5.65.

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) commenced a further $1.925 billion on-market buy-back of its shares, which will be completed by 31 December 2018. Also today, the mining giant announced it completed its $1.5 billion on market share buy-back.

Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) shares gained over 11 per cent at one point today, after it extended and sweetened its debt facilities. Its three-year debt facility of $150 million was renegotiated into two tranches to matured in 2020. Meantime it reduced its existing five-year debt facilities maturing in December 2020 by $25 million, taking its total senior debt facilities to $319 million.

And Oneview Healthcare (ASX:ONE) formed a five-year R&D partnership with The University of Oxford and Oxford University Hospitals’ NHS Foundation Trust to ultimately expedite wait times and access to care for prostate cancer

And CBA (ASX:CBA) took the opportunity to claim a substantial holding in FlexiGroup (ASX:FXL) today, taking its holding in the $635 million company to 5 per cent.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Energy adding 0.8 per cent to close at 10,867.
The worst performing sector was Industrials, shedding 0.4 per cent to close at 5,953. points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Retail Food Group Limited (ASX:RFG), rising 9.13 per cent to close at $2.51. Shares in Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC) and St Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Cleanaway Waste Management Limited (ASX:CWY), dropping 3.2 per cent to close at $1.52. Shares in G.U.D. Holdings Limited (ASX:GUD) and Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) also closed lower.

Asian markets

Mixed: Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.05 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.03 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.13 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,283 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.33 up at $US59.80 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.46 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has gained 11 per cent in the last 24 hours to $16,809
Ethereum gained about 1 per cent to $784
And Litecoin has gained about 1 per cent to $287