Tax loss selling plus Australian deficit worsens: ASX closes 0.5% lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market spent the day back peddling, almost wiping out this week’s gains, finishing 0.5 per cent lower. Despite positive US leads from Wall Street, the utility, property, energy and mining sectors led the drag.

We saw indiscrete selling today with the five biggest losers not making any announcements but falling on the back of 30 June selling.

The heavy weights also closed in the red after iron ore price backtracked by 1 per cent to US$65.47, while its futures are to a rise of 1.41 per cent. BHP (ASX:BHP), Rio (ASX:RIO), South32 (ASX:S32) and FMG (ASX:FMG) also lost 1 per cent.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 31 points lower, or 0.51 per cent lower, to finish at 5994.90 points.

On the futures market

The Dow Jones Futures are suggesting a fall of 2 points.
The S&P/ASX 200 Futures are suggesting a fall of 21 points.

Value of trades

$5.2 billion on volume of 692 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP).

Economic news

The current account deficit fell $4.2 million to $10.5 billion in the March quarter 2018, falling further into the red from the December quarter deficit of $14.7 billion, with biggest drag coming from international investment debts. It also surprises economist who expected the deficit would improve to $9.9 billion.

Meantime, the RBA kept interest rates on hold today at 1.5 per cent as expected.

Company news

Morgan Stanley voted with its feet and chose investment admin provider Praemium (ASX:PPS) for its separately managed accounts (SMA). The two have been working together since 2005 but with Morgan Stanley adding SMA’s its clients and advisers will have a full platform offering from Praemium. That news left Praemium (ASX:PPS) 4.08 per cent higher at $0.77.

Kogan (ASX:KGN) has quashed media speculation saying founder and chief executive Ruslan Kogan and chief financial officer David Shafer did not receive a bid to buy their shares with both parties saying they are not in any discussions to sell any share in the company. The exec also denied any transactions occurred, contrary to media and broker reports. It also comes just a day after the company announced it’s getting into whitegoods and built in kitchen. Kogan (ASX:KGN) closed 12.45 per cent lower at $8.58.

a2 Milk (ASX:A2M) shares have seen a strong rally today after a global fund manager, BlackRock snapped up a major holding in the firm. BlackRock and its related bodies bought just over 5 per cent of the milk company’s shares. Its shares gained 6.05 per cent today to $9.99.

Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) expects FY18 underlying NPAT to be about $34.5 million and to make a statutory NPAT loss of about $87.6 million with trading conditions and planned outlet closures having a negative impact. Also taking a toll, the exit payment to the former managing director, Andre Nell.

Lithium producer, Argosy Minerals (ASX:AGY) announce the the first batch of lithium carbonate (‘LCE’) has been produced from its industrial pilot plant in Argentina.

Property Group Charter Hall Retail REIT (ASX:CQR) established a joint venture with its group’s affiliated fund, Charter Hall Prime Retail Fund, to snap up Gateway Plaza in Victoria for $117 million.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best-performing sector was Consumer Staples, which added 0.14 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Utilities, which shed 2.00 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was The a2 Milk Company (ASX:A2M), which rose 6.05 per cent to $9.99. Shares in Wisetech Global Ltd (ASX:WTC) and Altium Limited (ASX:ALU) followed higher.

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pact Group (ASX:PGH), which fell 4.87 per cent to $5.27. Shares in Sthn Cross Media (ASX:SXL) and Mayne Pharma Ltd (ASX:MYX) followed lower.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has added 1.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.5 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.6 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at USD $1292.00 an ounce.
Light crude is trading $0.93 lower at USD $64.88 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.35 US cents.


Bitcoin trades at US$7,453, Ethereum trades at US$586 and EOS has fallen about 8 per cent to US$13.14