ASX closes lower for 3rd day: Aus shares close 0.2% lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market closed lower for the third straight day, being held under underwater after Santos rejected its takeover offer.

The ASX200 has however maintained its hold above the 6,030 mark and in the range of its one month highs. Property stocks mustered up the most strength today with Vicinity Centres (ASX:VCX) gaining 2.7 per cent and Charter Hall (ASX:CHC) following up 2.6 per cent.

The mining heavy weights, BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio (ASX:RIO) gained 0.5 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively, despite the iron ore price slipping to US$64.41 and its futures are pointing to a fall of 0.90 per cent.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 9.40 points lower, or 0.16 per cent lower, to finish at 6032.50 points.

Futures market

The Dow Jones Futures are suggesting a fall of 65 points.
The S&P/ASX 200 Futures are suggesting a fall of 4 points.

Value of trades 

$5.5 billion on volume of 735 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB), BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).

Company news

GetSwift (ASX:GSW) advised its class action claims have reduced by 50 to 75 per cent, when compared to initial claims. It comes as three class actions were brought down by two law firms, in the Federal Court with the losses claims ranging up to $220 million. Its shares closed 1.16 per cent higher at $0.43.

Varian Medical Systems (NYSE:VAR) look like it’s out of the equation of potentially taking over Sirtex Medical (ASX:SRX) as it advised it won’t be making a counter proposed following CDH’s takeover offer of $1.87 billion. Varian’s offer does however still stand at the lower $1.56 billion offer.

Oil and gas major, Santos (ASX:STO) rejected the $14.4 billion takeover proposal from US equity firm Harbour Energy, with the board saying it doesn’t represent the full value of the company and is not in the best interests of shareholders. Meantime, a project operated by Santos (ASX:STO), owned by Melbana Energy (ASX:MAY), received the environmental go-ahead to undertake a seismic survey at the Beehive prospect, which is one of Australia’s largest under drilled hydrocarbon structures.

It will be funded by Santos and French major, Total. After completion in August, Total and or Santos has the option to together or signally buy a 80 per cent interest in the project which saw Melbana Energy (ASX:MAY) shares rally strongly today.

The Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) announced the sale of its interest in BoComm Life Insurance Company for $668 million, which will result in an after tax gain of $450 million.

The best and worst performers of the day

The best-performing sector was Real Estate Investment Trusts, which added 1.72 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Energy, which shed 2.34 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Eclipx Group Ltd (ASX:ECX), which rose 3.22 per cent to $3.53. Shares in Mirvac Group (ASX:MGR) and Vicinity Centres (ASX:VCX) followed higher.

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Santos Ltd (ASX:STO), which fell 8.39 per cent to $5.90. Shares in The A2 Milk Company (ASX:A2M) and Bellamy'S Australia (ASX:BAL) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has lost 1.16 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 1.04 per cent and China's Shanghai Composite has lost 1.06 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at USD $1290.43 an ounce.
Light crude is trading $0.22 lower at USD $72.13 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.43 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin is trading 4.78 per cent lower at USD $7,937 Ethereum is trading 7.44 per cent lower at USD $642.14 and EOS is trading 7.50 per cent lower at USD $12.11.