Market Wrap: Aus shares down 1.246%

Market Reports

Despite a fairly flat open the Aussie sharemarket fell to its lowest point in almost a week today, on the back of disappointing economic Japanese data, and closed 1.246 per cent lower.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 51.6 points to finish at 4,089. On the futures market, the SPI is down 59 points.

Japanese economy

Taking a closer look at Japan’s household spending: It fell 3.2 per cent in November, compared with a year ago. Data shows industrial output slumped thanks to a fall in production, shipments and inventories.

Company news

Dart Energy Limited (ASX:DTE) is to acquire 22 onshore gas licences in the UK from privately-owned Greenpark Energy with a mixture of cash and shares.
Dart says it’s also agreed to heads of terms for a gas sales agreement with BG Group for up to 24 billion cubic feet of gas at market price from 14 UK licence areas that would be transferred to Dart from BG Group. Shares in Dart Energy Limited (ASX:DTE) closed 1.37 per cent higher, at 37 cents.

Murchison Metals Limited (ASX:MMX) has been given the all-clear from the federal government's Foreign Investment Review Board to sell its interests in the troubled Oakajee port development in Western Australia. The Western Australian government has also relaxed a deadline that demanded “implementation agreements” for the Oakajee project to be completed by this weekend. Murchison Metals Limited (ASX:MMX) closed 3.53 per cent higher today at 44 cents.

Small cap Arc Exploration Limited (ASX:ARX) shares plummeted 20 per cent today after it halted some of its Indonesian operations following the death of two people who clashed with police while protesting gold exploration. BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) has bought up several exploration tenements near its Olympic Dam mine in South Australia from Archer Exploration for $3 million.

Retailers Harvey Norman Limited (ASX:HVN), David Jones (ASX:DJS), The Reject Shop (ASX:TRS) and Billabong (ASX:BBG) were among the worst performers in the consumer discretionary sector today after a dismal Christmas shopping period for Australia that produced flat sales results. Executive director of the Australian Retailers Association, Russell Zimmerman, says weather played a part in poor clothing sales but jewellery reported strong sales.

Sectors and stocks

Telcos was the best performer, up 3 points to 1,135. The worst performing sector was real estate investment trusts, it lost 16 points, closing at 789.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX200 was Energy Resources of Australia, it rose 9.17 per cent to $1.31, followed by Sundance and Goodman.

The worst performing stock was Sigma Pharmaceuticals, it dropped 6.72 per cent to 55.5 cents, followed by Resolute and QUBE.

Commodities

The price of gold is $US1,587.70 an ounce and Light crude is down 13 cents at $US101.21 a barrel.


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