Following soft leads the Australian share market has posted a subdued start to the week, pulling back from session lows to end 0.3 per cent down. The miners fell the hardest as news broke the Federal Government has edged closer to securing the numbers for its mining tax to pass in the lower house.
The S&P/ASX 200 Index ended 14 points lower at 4,163. On the futures market the SPI is 5 points higher.
Shares in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand (ASX:TEL) fell to the worst performer on the same day its demerged infrastructure unit, Chorus Limited (ASX:CNU), started to trade on the Australian Securities Exchange. Chorus is due to list in New Zealand on Wednesday. Shares in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand fell 21.93 percent, closing at $1.46.
Shares in White Energy Company Limited (ASX:WEC) tumbled after the company said it would not buy out its Indonesian partner, PT Bayan Resources’ interest in their joint venture coal project. Bayan has offered to sell its stake for around $45 million. White Energy believes Bayan is in breach of their JV deal and says it will be pursuing legal and other commercial options. Shares in White Energy Company tumbled 17.65 per cent today, closing at $0.49.
Murchison Metals Limited (ASX:MMX) went into a trading halt today, telling the market it is in talks to potentially sell its interest in Crosslands Resources and the $6 billion Oakajee Port and Rail project. An announcement is expected on Wednesday.
Gryphon Minerals Limited (ASX:GRY) also halted its trade today as it prepares for a material capital raising. The gold explorer is reportedly seeking more than $60 million to advance its Banfora gold project in Burkina Faso.
Coal hauler QR National (ASX:QRN) has extended its long-term coal haulage deal with Gloucester Coal Limited (ASX:GCL) bringing the total revenue for the 13 year contract to more than $75 million.
Continental Coal Limited (ASX:CCC) closed lower after releasing an operations update and announcing a new acquisition. The coal company achieved record export thermal coal sales for October and has spent $1.3 million to buy the Wolvenfontein Coal Project in South Africa.
Best and worst performers
Most sectors were down: The best performing sector was Telco Services, lifting 11 points to close at 1,083. The worst performing sector was Materials, retreating 106 points to close at 11,226 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Aston Resources, rising 6.29 per cent to close at $9.30. Shares in Wotif.com Holdings and Cudeco also finished stronger.
The worst performing stock was Telecom Corporation of New Zealand, dropping 21.93 per cent to close at $1.46. Shares in White Energy Company and Dart Energy also lost value.
The price of gold is $US1,721 an ounce
Light crude is down $0.34 at $US97.33 a barrel.