Market Wrap: ASX down on commodities

Market Reports

The Australian share market opened lower, traded in negative territory and closed 0.22 per cent down, as commodity shares weighed on the market. 

The S&P/ASX 200 index was 9 points lower to finish at 4,278. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 16 points down.
 
Economic news 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has recorded an increase for personal lending in January of 4.3 per cent to $7.4 billion. Business finance dropped 1.1 per cent to $32 billion.

The ABS also reported steady new motor vehicle sales in February. 85,448 new cars were sold, a slight drop from the month before.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has released its quarterly bulletin today indicating the gap between the wealthy and the rest of the country has been reduced. The RBA says falling share prices has hit moneyed households more due to higher exposure rates to financial assets.
 
Company news 

OneSteel Limited (ASX:OST) has announced the closure of its oil and gas pipe business in Kembla Grange NSW at the end of May. OneSteel said in a statement today, that the result will be a write down of assets valued at $13 million inclusive of goodwill and before tax. As a result almost 60 jobs will be lost. Shares in OneSteel closed 2.15 per cent higher at $1.19.

Downer EDI Limited (ASX:DOW) has entered into a framework agreement with Rio Tinto’s Limited (ASX:RIO) iron ore division. The agreement provides Downer with preferred contractor status for Rio’s Western Australia operations. Shares in Downer shares closed 2.02 per cent higher at $4.04.

Gold miner Ramelius Resources Limited (ASX:RMS) has inked a deal with Terrain Minerals Limited (ASX:TMX) to acquire the Coogee gold deposit for $900,000 cash.

Myer Holdings Limited (ASX:MYR) has reported its first half net profit dropped 19.8 per cent to $87.3 million.

Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) has announced today a 1 billion euro-bond issue, as part of its normal debt refinancing programme.

Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) has raised $US2 billion as part of its plans to expand into the Pilbarra region of Western Australia.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Utilities adding 61 points to close at 4792.
The worst performing sector was Materials, losing 133 points to close at 11,100 points.

The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was TPG Telecom rising 4.47 per cent to close at $1.635. Shares in Industria and Billabong International also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Ramelius, dropping 7.89 per cent to close at $0.875. Shares in Beadel Resourcesl and Dart Energy also closed lower.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,643 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.44 up at $US105.87 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.0458