Westpac fined for home loan conduct: ASX to close 0.3 per cent lower

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market closed lower today with the Energy sector the worst performer. Big banks saw a fall. Westpac (ASX:WBC) is potentially facing a $35 million penalty - for breaching its responsible lending obligations with some home loans. As for the sectors, Telcos did well today with Telstra (ASX:TLS) gaining causing a boost for the sector. While iron ore price fell 0.4 per cent to US$66.05 and its futures are pointing to a rise of 0.4 per cent. At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 18 points lower, or 0.3 per cent lower to finish at 6293

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 58 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 8 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing lift of 22 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 4 point fall tomorrow morning. 

Economic news

Australia's current account deficit increased by almost $1.8 billion to $13.5 billion in the June quarter driven mainly by increased net primary income deficit according to the ABS. The balance on goods and services surplus in the quarter was $2.8 billion, a fall of $532 million on the March quarter.

Company news

Westpac (ASX:WBC) has agreed to pay a $35 million penalty for contravening the National Consumer Credit Protection Act in a case brought by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). This settlement is subject to court approval. The proceedings relate to certain home loans entered into between December 2011 and March 2015 which were assessed and approved by Westpac's automated decisioning process. Westpac admitted using the Household Expenditure Measure – a relatively low estimate of basic living expenses – to calculate potential borrowers' living costs in an automated loan-assessment process. Instead of referring to a credit officer for manual assessment. During this period Westpac's automated decisioning process approved over 250,000 home loans. Shares in Westpac (ASX:WBC) closed 0.8 per cent lower to $28.31

Tilt Renewables (ASX:TLT) Independent Directors have rejected the $2.30 offer made by its two majority shareholders – Infratil and Mercury NZ. Mercury NZ and Infratil have formed a joint venture to bid for the 29 per cent of the company they do not already own. Tilt Renewables was spun out Trustpower around two years ago, has wind farms in Australia and New Zealand. Chairman of the Independent Directors Committee says the offer is inadequate and not fair to Tilt Renewables almost 11 thousand shareholders. Shares in Tilt Renewables (ASX:TLT) closed flat at $2.08.

The CEO of organic baby food company, Bubs Australia (ASX:BUB) Nicholas Simms is stepping down, but will remain with the company until October 2018 when his contract ends.Bubs Founder and Managing Director, Kristy Carr will take over the top job.

Suncorp (ASX:SUN) is to sell its Australian life insurance business to TAL under the share sale deed for around $735 million. The share sale includes a 20-year distribution agreement with TAL to offer life insurance solutions through Suncorp Australian distribution channels.

Nufarm (ASX:NUF) has confirmed that the Brazilian court has now overturned an earlier ruling that had suspended the sale of the products containing glyphosate in Brazil. This decision will enable Nufarm to continue to sell glyphosate for use in the upcoming Brazillian soybean planting season.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sectorwas telcos adding 0.7 per centwhile the worst performing sector was energy shedding 1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Ausdrill (ASX:ASL), rising 9.2 per cent to close at $1.73. Shares in Sims Metal Management (ASX:SGM) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC),dropping 7.6 per cent to close at $4.73. Shares in Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX:SKI) and Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) followed lower.

Asian markets

Mixed:Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.05per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.9 per cent and the Shanghai Composite hasgained 1.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1198an ounce.
Light crude is $0.30 up at $US70.10 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.24US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading mixed: Bitcoin has gained 0.6 per cent to US$7280, Ethereum has fallen 1.4 per cent to US$286 and EOS has fallen about 1.2 per cent to US$6.40 in the last 24 hours.