Market Wrap: Aus shares down 0.72%

Market Reports

The Aussie sharemarket pared some losses today but it still closed 0.72 per cent lower with industrials, materials and energy stocks weighing the local bourse down.

Today, the S&P/ASX 200 Index today retreated 30 points to finish at 4,133. On the futures market, the SPI is 35 points lower.

Company news

One Steel Limited (ASX:OST) shares tumbled 10.75 per cent today. The company’s chair Peter Smedley told its AGM yesterday there’s no improvement in overall activity levels or demand in the Australian steel industry. The negative outlook coincided with rival BlueScope Steel Limited’s announcement of a $600 million capital raising. Shares in One Steel Limited (ASX:OST) closed today at 83 cents.

Centro Properties Group (ASX:CNP) and Centro Retail Group (ASX:CER) are one step closer to merging and becoming Centro Retail Australia (CRF) after a series of meetings today resulted in a shareholder vote of 1.97 billion for and 55.6 million against. Proxies totalled more than 92 per cent. Security holders will meet again next Tuesday. Shares in Centro Properties Group (ASX:CNP) were in a trading halt at close but they last traded at 31 cents.

It has been one year since QR National (ASX:QRN) floated and today Queensland treasurer Andrew Fraser declared victory in the move, saying it outperformed the ASX 200 by 40 per cent. The government retained a 34 per cent share in the company, when it debuted at $2.55 - $2.45. Today, it closed at $3.35.

Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORI) is set to be supplied with large scale generation certificates for two years from the Gunning Wind Farm near Canberra, starting in January. It will then be granted green power and large scale generation certificates for eight years, in a move the company says is its commitment to supporting renewable energy sources.

Goodman Fielder Limited (ASX:GFF) suffered some backlash today from Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) after its claims yesterday it’s planning to slash spending and may deliver its daily bread every second or third day, to cut down on freight costs. Woolies spokesman Benedict Brook said a move to change the freshness of bread would have to be discussed with the supermarket, and that ultimately, it’s the customer who decides what goes on the shelf.

And Thorn Group Limited (ASX:TGA) is expecting full year profit to increase by more than 20 per cent, to $30 million. The Radio Rentals parent says as more consumers find their economic conditions difficult there’s a part of the community that will continue to rent.

Best and worst performers

Today almost all sectors were in the red, except for utilities which was up five points to 4,468. The worst performing sector was industrials, shedding 51 points to close at 3,365.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX200 was White Energy, it rose 7.14 per cent to close at 52.5 cents. Shares in Mt Gibson and Transpacific also finished stronger today.

The worst performing stock was Onesteel, as we saw earlier it, dropped 10.75 per cent, followed by OM Holdings and Linc Energy.

Commodities

The price of gold is $US1,683 an ounce and Light crude is up 10 cents at $US97.02 a barrel.