Banks drag on market after release of ASIC report: The ASX closed flat

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market closed flat today with the big banks dragging on the market after an ASIC report released today. Air travel companies have seen a dip today. Webjet (ASX:WEB) shares are at the lowest price since late August. UK-listed travel company Thomas Cook slashed its profit expectations yesterday due to the warm summer weather in Europe this year. This may have had an effect. Meanwhile the energy sector outperformed. At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.02 per cent lower or 1 point down to finish at 6186.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 2 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 1 point.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing fall of 8 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 4 point fall tomorrow.

Company news

Abacus Property Group (ASX:ABP) is pleased to announce that Abacus Hospitality Fund (ASX:AHF) has divested its final asset, the Novotel Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.The resort went for the price of $88.5 million. This is estimated to increase the funds security price to between 75 to 77 cent per security.
Abacus will receive a return of funds of between $50 and $55 million from AHF. In addition, Abacus has sold an adjacent, separate parcel of land for $11 million, due for settlement in October next year.Shares in Abacus Property Group (ASX:ABP) are 1.7 per cent lower to $3.41.

Agricultural chemical company Nufarm (ASX:NUF) has requested a trading halt for the remainder of the week in relation to an upcoming capital raising.The equity raising comes just one year after company raised over $400 million to fund the acquisition of a portfolio of crop protection products.

Blackham Resources (ASX:BLK) has inked a deal with New York based fund manager Lind Partners for an investment of up to $23 million. Blackham MD says the company has significantly boosted its gold production since January this year with the financing from Lind to remove short term debt service payments and improve its balance sheet.

Fairfax Media (ASX:FXJ) has announced that its bid to merge with New Zealand NZME subsidiary "Stuff" has been rejected by the court of Appeal. The merger failed to get the tick of approval from the New Zealand Commerce Commission in May last year and that decision was later upheld by the High Court in December.


Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was Energy adding 2.2 per cent while the worst performing sector was Financials, shedding 0.7 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Beach Energy (ASX:BPT), rising 6 per cent to close at $2.04. Shares in Brickworks (ASX:BKW) and Bellamy’s (ASX:BAL) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Webjet (ASX:WEB),dropping 6 per cent to close at $15.58. Shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and St Barbara (ASX:SBM) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 1.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.7 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,200 an ounce.
Iron ore price is flat at $69.13 tonne. Its futures are pointing to a fall of 1.1 per cent.
Light crude is US$1.49 up at US$72.27 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.48 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading lower: Bitcoin has fallen 2.96 per cent to US$6486, Ethereum has fallen 7.6 per cent to US$221 and XRP has fallen about 17.2 per cent to US$0.47, in the last 24 hours.