Market Wrap: Aus shares end lower

Market Reports

The Australian share market has ended the day half a per cent lower, investors just can’t seem to shake worries about Europe’s festering debt crisis and the gloomy US economic outlook. Closer to home, BlueScope’s poor results and the government’s mining tax was front of mind.

The S&P/ASX200 Index closed 20 points weaker at 4,082. On the futures market, the SPI is 7 points higher.

Economic news

Guidelines have been released by the Australian Taxation Office on how it would administer the mining tax. Interested parties have been invited to provide feedback.

Company news

BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL) posts a massive full year loss, announcing a major restructuring of its operations, the axing of a thousand jobs and the closure of one of its blast furnaces. For the full year to June 30, BlueScope posted a net loss of $1.05 billion, that’s 936 per cent lower than the year before. BlueScope will not pay a final dividend. BlueScope shares ended the day 5.7 per cent higher at $0.745.

Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) has tentative approval from the ACCC to deepen its alliance with American Airlines for flights between Australia and the US. Under the joint agreement the airlines will co-ordinate operations on trans-pacific routes. The competition watchdog says its doesn’t believe the alliance will have any anti-competitive effects because the airlines don’t have any overlapping direct services. American Airlines has not flown the trans-Pacific route since the early nineties. Qantas shares closed 2.07 per cent weaker today at $1.42.

Caltex Australia Limited (ASX:CTX) posts a fall in net profit on a replacement cost basis of $113 million for the first half due to operational disruptions.

Arrow Energy makes a $520 million offer for coal seam gas producer Bow Energy Limited (ASX:BOW), shares skyrocketing on the news.

WPG Resources Ltd (ASX:WPG) agrees to sell its iron ore assets in South Australia to OneSteel Limited (ASX:OST) for $346 million.

Amcor Limited (ASX:AMC) reports a 95 per cent increase in net profit to just under $357 million for the year, unveiling a $150 million on-market share buyback.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Health Care, the index rising 67 points to close at 7,532. The worst performing sector was Telco Services, falling 32 points to close at 1,021.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX200 was Bow Energy, shares gained 59.89 per cent to close at $1.415. Shares in Western Areas and Dart Energy also gained today.

The worst performing stock was Goodman Fielder, shedding 9.09 per cent to close at $0.70. Shares in Billabong International and Fairfax Media also fell today.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,881 an ounce and Light crude is down 56 cents to $US81.70 a barrel.