Market Wrap: Aus shares down after weak leads

Market Reports

The Australian share market finished down 1.3 per cent, dragged down by materials and energy stocks following a weak lead from overseas markets.

The S&P/ASX200 Index is down by 69 points to close at 4,793. On the futures market, the SPI is down by 72 points.

Economic news: the Reserve Bank of Australia has signalled that interest rates look to remain steady. The minutes of the monetary policy meeting on April 5, say the board noted loan rates facing businesses were above average levels. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has also reported that Australia's international merchandise imports increased 2 per cent to $18.35 billion in March.

Company news: Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) will be raising its fuel surcharges and increasing fares from the end of the month. The airline announced that the increases are in response to increases in oil and fuel prices. Chief Alan Joyce said that even with price hikes, the company will still not be recovering costs of $2billion to be spent on fuel in the second half of this financial year. Shares in Qantas were down by 0.47 per cent to close at $2.11. 

Mincor Resources NL (ASX:MCR) has reported a fall in nickel sales for the march quarter. Production problems at two of its five mines in Western Australia are thought to be the cause of the fall, which saw a sales revenue of $34.06 million compared with the previous period’s $40.28 million. The company says several remnant mining operations at Otter Juan are being investigated and developed to supplement production. Shares in Mincor lost 4.25 per cent today, to close at $1.24. 

Wesfarmers Limited ( ASX:WES) owned Coles has been given support to takeover Colac meat processor CRF. The board of the processor said it’s cleared up all outstanding commercial matters, and will take the deal to shareholders for approval.

And On the same day Charter Hall Retail REIT (ASX:CQR) announced it will lose their chief financial officer on July 31, it has also said it has secured a conditional $250 million funding commitment to repay its Australian commercial mortgage backed security facility 12 months ahead of its maturity.

Woodside Petroleum Ltd (ASX:WPL) has reported a 12 per cent production level drop for the March quarter.

Newcrest Mining Ltd (ASX:NCM) has downgraded its full-year guidance for gold production by 16 per cent.

All sectors closed in negative territory today. The best performing sector was Telco Services losing 4 points to close at 967. The worst performing sector was energy, falling 339 points to close at 16,653. The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX200 was Infigen Energy shares rising 8.97 per cent to close at $0.425. Shares in BWP Trust and Incitec Pivot Ltd also closed in positive territory. The worst performing stock was Lynas, shedding 6.91 per cent to close at $2.29 cents. Shares in Intrepid and Roc Oil also closed weaker today.

In commodities, gold is trading at $US1,491 an ounce and Light crude is down 6 cents at $US107.06 a barrel.

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