PM seat battle & profit taking weigh: Aus shares close 0.34% lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market continued to slide for the third day on reporting season and Australia's Prime Minister challenge, which left the top 200 stocks back to where they were last trading in the second week of August (6 August).

So far, we’ve Seen Julie Bishop and Scott Morrison eye the Liberal leader’s post, against Peter Dutton, after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull lost party room support.

About half of the sectors ended with a loss. Utilities again dragged falling over 3 per cent after APA (ASX:APA) saw a knife drop fall, shedding 7.8 per cent after just a day after reporting a rise in 2018 revenue, profit and EPS, ahead of Deutsche Bank’s expectations, with the major bank having the stock as 'buy'.

The Telcos and Info Technology sectors saw the most steam, with Wisetech (ASX:WTC) gaining over 46 per cent in the last two days, after announcing its net profit rose about 30 per cent in the 2018 financial year, while its earnings and revenue gained 40 per cent on the back of its global expansion and offering.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 22 points lower, or 0.3 per cent lower to finish at 6,244.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 10 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 1 point.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing fall of 5 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 15 point fall tomorrow.

Value of trades

$7.8 billion on volume of 1 billion shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC), Telstra (ASX:TLS) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).

Company news

Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) (ASX:HTA) which has a 50 per cent stake in Vodafone charged up 54 per cent after TPG confirmed yesterday that the two are in takeover about a potential merger of two equals. TPG already has a 50 per cent stake in Vodafone. Yesterday TPG (ASX:TPM) rose about 22 per cent and today is rose over 1 per cnet. Shares in Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) (ASX:HTA) closed 53.85 per cent higher at $0.14.

Webjet's (ASX:WEB) shares jetpacked up 18 per cent on announcing its revenue gained 224 per cent and its earnings (EBITDA) rose 23 per cent to $86.3 million. Plus the company has declared a higher full-year dividend.

Stock market software company, Iress (ASX:IRE) shares finished 11 per cent higher after it reported its half-year net profit after tax in 2018 rose about 8 per cent to $32 million, and its revenue rose over 8 per cent compared to the same time last year.

Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) shares fell 8 per cent after it reported its results, announcing its full-year net profit after tax attributable to owners rose 14 per cent to $262.9 million. And its revenue rose 7 per cent to $2.95 billion. Macquarie Bank also earmarked the stock as an 'underperform'.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Telcos, adding 1.9 per cent while the worst performing sector was Utilities, shedding 3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Wisetech Global (ASX:WTC), rising 19.2 per cent to close at $23.73. Shares in Webjet (ASX:WEB) and Smartgroup Corporation (ASX:SIQ) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Flight Centre Travel Group (ASX:FLT), dropping 8.1 per cent to close at $61.68. Shares in Afterpay Touch (ASX:APA) and Carsales.com (ASX:CAR) followed lower.

Asian markets

Mixed. Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.5 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.5 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,192 an ounce.
The iron ore price is at $66.54.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 1 per cent.
Light crude is $2.27 up at $US68.11 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.96 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading lower. Bitcoin has fallen 3.7 per cent to US$6,455, Ethereum has fallen 4.6 per cent to US$274 and EOS has fallen about 6 per cent to US$4.77, in the last 24 hours.