The ASX ended its Thursday session on a flat note. At the open we had positive leads from US stocks, which all made gains on the US shaking off EU/US trade war fears. But after the Wall Street close, Facebook shares plunged over 20 per cent on a revenue and daily user miss.
Locally traders investors absorbed disappointing economic news with export prices rising less than expected and import rising more than expected. We also saw Macquarie (ASX:MQG) lose 2.6 per cent on CEO and MD changes and investors responded differently to takeover/merger talks with Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC) and Fairfax (ASX:FXJ), which left Nine shares with a loss of 10 per cent and Fairfax shares with a 8 per cent profit on being snapped up by nine.
As for the sectors half closed in the red with financials and telcos seeing the most losses.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.05 per cent lower or 3 points down at 6,245.
Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 13 points up.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 2 point fall.
Value of trades
$6.1 billion on volume of 816 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO).
Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) announced a 10 per cent lift in its production and a seven per cent rise in product prices, which led the group’s quarterly sales 20 per cent higher on the prior quarter, to $471 million. Shares in Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) closed 1.7 per cent higher at $1.84.
Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) CEO and MD Nicholas Moore is stepping down after 10 years at the helm. The current group head of Macquarie Asset Management Shemara Wikramanayake will take his place. Nicholas Moore leaves both the boards of Macquarie Group and Macquarie Bank on 30 November, shortly after delivering the group’s 1H19 results.
Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC) and Fairfax (ASX:FXJ) inked a deal to merge, which will make Nine one of Australia’s largest media companies. Subject to approvals, Nine will buy all of Fairfax shares for $0.025 cash (cash consideration) per Fairfax share plus Fairfax shareholders will receive 0.3627 Nine shares for every Fairfax share (scrip consideration). That’s a 22 per cent premium to Fairfax’s closing price on 25 July. The new entity will be led by Nine’s CEO Hugh Marks, and Peter Costello will be chairman.
Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) reported its third year of record annual gold production at its Lihir gold mine in PNG. Overall, its gold production for the 2018 financial year is at the upper end of its revised guidance and its copper production, came in above its revised guidance.
The National Australia Banks’ (ASX:NAB) wealth arm, MLC, will scrap planner service fees, starting in September and refund members over $67 million in its MLC MasterKey Personal Super fund, while they are in the product. MLC says it’s refunding the fees as it didn’t clearly tell members that the fee could be turned off, if they no longer wanted access to general advice. And it will switch off Plan Service fees on its MasterKey Business Super on 30 November.
Wattle Health (ASX:WHA) advised its JV purchased land to build Australia’s first dedicated organic nutritional milk spray dryer. And Wattle health will be able to provide the market with an ongoing supply of Australian organic nutritional milk powder. Yesterday its shares gained 8.13 per cent on the back of a China green-light today it gained 11 per cent.
Oceania Healthcare (ASX:OCA) reported a 72 per cent jump in its net profit, which lifted on the back of higher resale profits and new development sales. Meanwhile its total revenue rose about 9 per cent in the 12 months to 31 May 2018.
Mineral exploration and development company Rafaella Resources (ASX:RFR) started trading today. It floated with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.21 and closed at $0.20
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was energy adding 0.8 per cent while the worst performing sector was financials, shedding 0.3 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Domain Holdings Australia (ASX:DHG), rising 9.1 per cent to close at $3.35. Shares in Fairfax Media Limited (ASX:FXJ) and Mayne Pharma Group Limited (ASX:MYX) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Nine Entertainment Holdings (ASX:NEC), dropping 10.3 per cent to close at $2.26. Shares in Afterpay Touch (ASX:APT) and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) followed lower.
Lower: Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.95 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has shed 0.74 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,230 an ounce
Light crude is $0.74 up at $US69.26 barrel.
The iron ore price gained 0.7 per cent to US$66.03.
Iron ore futures suggesting a dip of 0.3 per cent, but over the week the price is higher.
One Australian dollar is buying 74.42 US cents.
Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading lower, Bitcoin has fallen 1.4 per cent to US$8,191, Ethereum has shed about 0.2 per cent to US$477 and EOS has lost the most, about 2.4 per cent to US$8.53