Market Wrap: Aus shares retreat from highs

Market Reports

Boosted by positive offshore leads the Australian share market gained almost 1.5 per cent at open but retreated throughout the day to end 0.2 per cent higher. Most sectors finished on positive ground, with strength in the industrials and health care stocks offset by weakness in the miners. 

The S&P/ASX200 Index ended 8 points higher at 4,305. On the futures market, the SPI is up 6 points.

Economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported lending finance data: In September personal finance commitments eased 2.5 per cent and total commercial finance dropped 10 per cent. Lease finance was rose 1.3 per cent and housing finance for owner occupation added 0.7 per cent.

Company news

Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN) jumped today after the uranium miner announced production at its Kayelekera processing plant in Malawi was on track to reach the target rate. The news was received well on the same day Paladin said its first quarter net loss plunged to $120 million, dragged down by an impairment charge on its Kayelekera mine. Shares in Paladin Energy jumped 8.05 per cent today, finishing at $1.61.

Shares in QR National (ASX:QRN) rose after reports emerged the coal hauler has inked a new coal haulage contract with Wesfarmers Limited  (ASX:WES). Under the contract QR National will annually carry up to 1.5 million tonnes of coal from Wesfarmer’s Curragh mine to the Wiggins Island coal export terminal in Queensland. Shares in QR National rose 2.03 per cent today, closing at $3.51.

Explosives and chemicals manufacturer Incitec Pivot Limited (ASX:IPL) has recorded a 13 per cent increase in annual net profit. Excluding significant items, profit rose 20 per cent.

Shares in Elders Limited (ASX:ELD) dropped after the agribusiness reported an annual loss of $395 million, weighed down by $392 million in pre-tax writedowns. Underlying earnings however, gained more than $30 million over the year.

Shares in DuluxGroup Limited (ASX:DLX) gained after the paint maker posted a 52 per cent jump in its annual profit, rising to $93.2 million. Underlying net profit gained 13 per cent over the year.

National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) has revealed its CEO, Cameron Clyne earned 12 per cent more last year, taking home $8.67 million. His remuneration compares with outgoing Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (ASX:CBA) CEO Ralf Norris who’s pay last year halved to $8.6 million. Last year Westpac Banking Corporation’s (ASX:WBC) CEO, Gail Kelly received $9.9 million and ANZ Banking Group’s (ASX:ANZ) CEO Mike Smith took home $10 million, the biggest CEO pay pack from the big four banks.

Best and worst performers

Most sectors ended higher: The best performing sector was Industrials, gaining 45 points to close at 3,483. The worst performing sector was Materials, losing 28 points to close at 11,774 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX200 was Intrepid Mines, jumping 10.08 per cent to close at $1.31. Shares in Paladin Energy and Spotless Group also finished stronger.

The worst performing stock was Gunns, dropping 6.25 per cent to close at $0.225. Shares in Orica and Extract Resources also fell.

Commodities

The price of gold is $US1,792 an ounce.
Light crude is up $0.12 at $US99.11 a barrel.