Market Wrap: Aus shares in the red

Market Reports

After yesterday’s big slide and this morning’s flat open, the Australian share market has ended the week deep in the red with the consumer staples and energy sectors pulling the market down.

The S&P/ASX200 Index lost 17 points to close at 4,583 while for the week it was 101 points lower. On the futures market, the SPI is down 21 points.

Economic news: car sales have fallen for the month of May for the third month in a row. The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) data says sales of 77,406 new vehicles were down 13.2 per cent on last May’s figures. And Fair Work Australia (FWA) today announced the minimum wage would rise to $589.30 a week, from $569.90, from July 1.

US: on Wall Street, the DOW Jones Industrial Average was down 193 points over the three trading days this week. The S&P 500 Index was down 18 point, NASDAQ was down 24 and the 100 Index was down 9 points.

Company news: The Australian newspaper today reported that Leighton Holdings’ Limited (ASX:LEI) former long-standing chief executive, Wal King, will not be returning to the board. The news comes after Spanish construction group, ACS, backed off on a push to install him as chairman. Shares in Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI) eased today, ending 0.76 per cent lower at $22.17.

Suncorp Group Limited (ASX:SUN) owned AAMI insurance will be closing branch networks and taking all operations online and to the phones. Today’s announcement has ruffled staff feathers, who are fearing job cuts. Shares in Suncorp Group Limited (ASX:SUN) ended the day 0.97 per cent weaker at $8.20.

Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) have announced they hope about 350, or five per cent, of its cabin crew will take up voluntary redundancies as the airlines tries to cut costs because of increasing jet fuel prices.

And about 90 per cent of BHP Limited (ASX:BHP) workers have voted in favour of giving their unions the right to call a strike, after ballot numbers were counted today. The company will be negotiating with unions over the strikes until the end of July.

Best and worst performers: Telco Services was the best performing sector today, rising 12 points to close at 1,037. The worst performing sector was Consumer Staples, dropping 61 points to close at 7,672 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX200 was White Energy (ASX:WEC) shares gained 4.55 per cent to close at $2.07. Shares in Fosters (ASX:FGL) and Bramb Limited (ASX:BXB) also ended the week higher.

The worst performing stock was Gunns (ASX:GNS), easing 8.97 per cent to close at $0.355. Shares in Carnarvon (ASX:CVN) and Aurora Oil (ASX:AUT) also closed lower today.

In commodities, gold is trading at $US1,532 an ounce and is down $2.20 on the week. Light crude is down 5 cents at $US100.35 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is trading at $1.674, down by about a fifth of a cent.