Market Wrap: Aussie shares close weaker

Market Reports

The Australian share market took a dive today for the second day in a row. All sectors were deep in the red, with financials slumping 2.3 per cent and materials down 1.7 per cent. Global fears of the euro zone debt crisis spreading to Italy also weighed on sentiment.

The S&P/ASX200 Index fell 87 points to close at 4,495. On the futures market, the SPI is down 95 points.

Company news

Mirrabooka Investments Ltd (ASX:MIR) has revealed a 9.2 per cent jump in full-year profit. The investment company also said it has the cash to make more acquisitions before the share market climbs higher. Mirrabooka Investments Ltd (ASX:MIR) shares were flat at the end of the day, to close at $1.85. 

Gindalbie Metals Ltd (ASX:GBG) said it is on track to start shipping magnetite iron ore from its flagship Karara project in June next year. The $2.57 billion project is still under construction in the mid west region of WA, where Gindalbie started trialling the mining of hematite iron ore earlier in the year, which doesn’t require processing. To date, the company has exported 568,000 tonnes of hematite iron ore. Shares in Gindalbie Metals Ltd (ASX:GBG) shed 2.48 per cent to close at 78.5 cents.

Bernie Brooks, the managing director of Myer Holdings Ltd (ASX:MYR), will find out the fate of his position next month. With his five-year contract coming to an end in August, today’s AFR reported that Mr Brookes might not keep his position after a recent poor stock market performance.

Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) shares jumped about six per cent at one point today after the oil and gas producer said flow rates from a shale gas well in South Australia’s Cooper Basin exceeded expectations. Initial gas flow rates from Beach's Holdfast-1 shale gas well were as high as two million standard cubic feet per day. The stock closed at a one month high of 99 cents.

Macarthur Coal (ASX:MMC) shares surged 37 per cent today after the news that Peabody Energy and ArcelorMittal are likely to succeed with their $5 billion takeover offer.

And Alcoa Incorporated (NYSE:AA), the parent of Australia’s Alcoa (ASX:AAI), said its revenue rose 27 per cent to $US6.6 billion.

Sectors and stocks

All sectors ended the day in the red today, with utilities experiencing the least losses, dropping 56 to close at 4,344. The worst performing sector was financials excluding retail investment trusts, losing 118 points to close at 4,751.

Not surprisingly,The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX200 today was Macarthur Coal (ASX:MCC), with shares rising 36.64 per cent to close at $15.14. Shares in Energy World (ASX:EWC) and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) also closed in positive territory today. The worst performing stock was Virgin Blue (ASX:VBA), shedding 8.82 per cent to close at 31 cents. Shares in Gunns (ASX:GNS) and Karoon (ASX:KAR) also closed weaker today.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,548 an ounce and Light crude is 80 cents weaker at $US94.34 a barrel.