Downgrades and weak sentiment: Aus shares close 0.05% lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market kicked off the trading week with a very minor loss today. At noon we recovered from the sell-off amid US/China trade tensions but in the afternoon we entered red territory again, despite the US market eyeing a gain with. Dow futures suggesting a gain of 221 points points.

We saw heavy selling in Boral (ASX:BRL) after Credit Suisse downgraded the stock from "neutral" to "underperform”.

And miners came under pressure too after iron ore price fell to US$66.92 and its futures are pointing to a fall of 3.40 per cent. We saw Fortescue (ASX:FMG) lose 3 per cent, while South32 (ASX:S32) and Rio (ASX:RIO) followed.

But the health sector really shone today with the Star Combo Pharma (ASX:S66) rising a masssive 46 per cent, while Nanosonics (ASX:NAN) and Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) gained 2 per cent.

Half of the sectors closed in the red at the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 2.90 points lower, or 0.05 per cent lower, to finish at 6084.50 points. And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a fall of 8 points.

Value of trades

$4.3 billion on volume of 581 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), CSL (ASX:CSL) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).

Company news 

Toll road operator Transurban (ASX:TCL) declared it will pay a distribution of 28 cents per share for the six month period ending 30 June 2018. It takes the FY18 distribution total to 56 cents, with 5 cents franked. The payment date is inked as 10 August 2018 with a record date of 29 June 2018. Shares in Transurban Group (ASX:TCL) closed 0.79 per cent higher at $11.49.

Logistics software heavyweight, WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) has seen a run in its shares after being sold off for two days. It comes as the firm issued $100 million shares to a global institutional investor. Under the agreement 2.6 per cent of WTC’s shares will be issued to a fund manager in LA called, Capital Group’s SmallCap World Fund. Shares in Wisetech Global (ASX:WTC) closed 3.40 per cent higher at $14.29.

AGL (ASX:AGL) shares gained about 1 per cent today after the energy company received an non-binding offer to snap up its coal fired power station, Liddell for $250 million, which AGL says significantly undervalues the cash flows up to 2022.

Vocus Group (ASX:VOC) also charged up 5.1 per cent after Kevin Russell was appointed as new group CEO and Director

Santos (ASX:STO) has received an increased takeover offer from US company Harbour Energy of US$5.21 per share. The bid has increased from an offer of US$4.98 last Wednesday.

WorleyParsons (ASX:WOR) has been awarded a three year contract by Neptune energy to provide offshore engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning of Neptune’s brownfield modifications project.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best-performing sector was Health Care, which added 1.37 per cent.

The worst-performing sector was Telco Services, which shed 1.37 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Orocobre Limited (ASX:ORE), which rose 5.61 per cent to $6.40. Shares in Corp Travel Limited (ASX:CTD) and Vocus Group Ltd (ASX:VOC) followed higher.

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Asaleo Care Limited (ASX:AHY), which fell 5.94 per cent to $1.34. Shares in Boral Limited (ASX:BLD) and Fortescue Metals Grp (ASX:FMG) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has gained 0.35 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 1.04 per cent and China's Shanghai Composite has gained 0.71 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at USD $1286.59 an ounce.
Light crude is trading $0.20 lower at USD $71.37 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.18 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin is trading 2.90 per cent higher at USD $8513.14, Ethereum is trading 1.46 per cent higher at USD $716.68 and EOS is trading 3.52 per cent higher at USD $13.97.