Market Wrap: Aus shares fall sharply

Market Reports

The Australian share market fell sharply at the open and stayed at those lower levels until the close, the market falling 1.6 per cent today.

The S&P/ASX200 Index finished 74 points lower at 4,464. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 82 points lower.

Company News

Macquarie Group Limited (ASX:MQG) shares have fallen sharply, with investors sceptical about the investment bank’s positive full year outlook. The up-beat assessment is based on market conditions not being materially worse than last year. The Macquarie Group chief executive has admitted the possibility of a US debt default was negatively affecting the bank’s performance. Shares in Macquarie Group fell 4.57 per cent today, closing at $27.99.

Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) owned subsidiary Jetstar has been accused of onerous work conditions by independent senator Nick Xenophon. Cabin crew employees are accusing the airline of ignoring their concerns about fatigue, reportedly having to work up to 20 hours straight. The senator told ABC Radio that cabin crew were worried they wouldn’t be able to function appropriately in the event of an emergency. Qantas shares closed 1.6 per cent lower today at $1.85.

Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG) and ConocoPhillips have sanctioned a LNG project in Queensland, approving the first phase of a $US20 billion two-train project.

Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES) shares slumped to a one year low after the company warned of slow retail growth for the next six months. Sales growth for Coles supermarkets came in weaker than analysts had predicted.

GUD Holdings Limited (ASX:GUD) expects a sound financial performance in the next financial year booking a full year net profit of $39.6 million, down 14.5 per cent on the year prior.

St Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM) has reported gold output jumped 19 per cent in the three months to June 30.

Sectors and stocks

All sectors were in the red today. Telco Services was the sector with the smallest losses dropping 7 points to close at 1,031. The worst performing sector was Materials, falling 264 points to close at 13,381.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX200 was Commonwealth Property Office Fund, shares gained 3.83 per cent to close at $0.95. Shares in Investa Office Fund and Emeco Holdings Limited also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Aquila Resources Limited, falling 7.02 per cent to close at $6.75. Shares in St Barbara Limited and Spotless Group Limited also closed in the red.

IPOs

Junior coal explorer, International Coal (ASX:ICX), started trading today at $0.225  a 2.5 cent premium to its issue price and closed at $0.29.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,615 an ounce and Light crude is down 21 cents at $US97.19 a barrel.