Market Wrap: Aus market lower

Market Reports

The Australian share market fell two thirds of a per cent at open after weak offshore leads but recovered mid morning and traded within a narrow range throughout the day, closing down by 3.9 points, pulled lower by real estate investment trusts and industrials.

The S&P/ASX200 Index fell 4 points to close at 4,468. On the futures market, the SPI is down 5 points.

Economic news

Minutes from the RBA board meeting on July 5 were released today, and said the bank will have to consider more economic data before making any decision to raise the current interest rate of 4.75 per cent.

Company news

Foster’s (ASX:FGL) won a case against the tax office today that had been going on for more than a decade. The company will receive a cash refund plus interest of $390 million. The case related to tax deductions the brewer claimed in the early 90s, after writing off debts owed by Elders Finance Group. Foster’s (ASX:FGL) shares were up 0.2 per cent at the end of the day, to close at $5.09. 

News Corp’s (ASX:NWS) Rupert Murdoch is set to face the British Parliament tonight, to answer questions over his company’s phone hacking scandal. Independent directors have anonymously told media that they are fully behind Murdoch, and that his management team are not planning to promote the current chief operating officer, Chase Carey, to the role of chief executive. Shares in News Corp (ASX:NWS) closed up by 2.4 per cent at $14.50.
 
BT Investment Management (ASX:BTT) has agreed to buy JO Hambro Capital for $314 million, a move that will diversify Westpac’s wealth management unit into Europe. BT said in a statement today that JO Hambro saw net inflows of 2.6 billion pounds, in the year to June 2011.

Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) has lifted its June quarter production by four per cent. It said today that its flagship Pluto liquefied natural gas project is on track to come online in March 2012 after some delays.

Tabcorp Holdings (ASX:TAH) shares jumped by as much as eight per cent at one point today after the company gained a key gaming licence from Victoria, news that will see the gaming company add about $120 million to earnings in the first full year.

And Oz Minerals (ASX:OZL) said today it will return up to $200 million to shareholders through an on-market buyback. The copper and gold miner also said cash costs for its copper declined in the second quarter, to US56.1 cents.

Sectors and stocks

The best performing sector today was telco services, rising 11 points to close at 1,043. The worst performing sector was real estate investment trusts, losing 12 points to close at 803.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX200 today was Envestra (ASX:ENV), shares rising 6.3 per cent to close at $0.675. Shares in West Areas (ASX:WSA) and TabCorp (ASX:TAH) also closed in positive territory today.
 
The worst performing stock was Pacific Brands (ASX:PBG) shedding 4.51 per cent to close at 63.5 cents. Shares in CabCharge (ASX:CAB) and White Energy (ASX:WEC) also closed weaker today.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,606 an ounce and Light crude is two cents higher at $US95.95 a barrel.