Financial sector drags: Aus shares close 0.1% lower

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock

It has been a flat day of trade for the Australian share market. We opened in the black following positive leads from the US, dipped in the afternoon and closed 0.1 per cent lower.

The Info Tech sector was the strongest performing sector followed by Materials. The Property and Consumer Staples sectors saw the most loses, followed by Consumer Discretionary.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 5 points lower to finish at 5,731.

Over the week, however, it closed 191 points or 3.3 per cent lower. The biggest drag this week came from the Financial sector, which lost about 4.2 per cent, and Consumer Staples, which shed around 3.8 per cent. Utilities was the only sector that ended above the line, rising around 1.9 per cent.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 7 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 7 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing fall of 47 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 7 point up Monday morning

Company news

Mining company, Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) has broken ground on its Pilgangoora Lithium-Tantalum Project in Western Australia. The company says that the project will provide vital raw lithium materials for the development of emerging clean energy technologies to help underpin the increasing transition to renewable energy sources. Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum, the Honourable Bill Johnston, officially opened the mine and noted that this is one of Australia’s fastest lithium developments to date. It comes after only 4 years of resource drilling, feasibility studies, approvals, financing and construction. Shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) closed 0.6 per cent higher to $0.83 today.

Property giant, Mirvac Group (ASX:MGR) announced the appointment of Jane Hewitt and Peter Nash as Non-Executive Directors on the Mirvac Board.

One of the best performing companies today, Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC) has signed a conditional agreement for the acquisition of the farming operations of Nangiloc Colignan Farm in Victoria. A subsidiary of CK Life Sciences International will acquire the farm and lease the farm back to Costa for 20 years.

Energy company Santos’ (ASX:STO) $US2.15 billion acquisition of Quadrant Energy has not been blocked by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The ACCC has determined that the acquisition would be unlikely to result in a substantial lessening of competition in the supply of gas to domestic customers in Western Australia.

Department store chain, Myer (ASX:MYR) has entered a trading halt following an article in the Australian Financial Review about the company choosing not to release quarterly sales updates.

And Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) shareholders have approved the demerger of Coles Group. The demerger is still subject to court approval.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Materials adding 0.7 per cent while the worst performing sector was REITs, shedding 0.9 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC), rising 11.9 per cent to close at $6.89. Shares in Afterpay Touch Group (ASX:APT) and Altium (ASX:ALU) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was CYBG (ASX:CYB), dropping 8.2 per cent to close at $4.50. Shares in Emeco Holdings (ASX:EHL) and Link Administration Holdings (ASX:LNK) followed lower.

Asian markets

Mixed. Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.9 per cent.

Wall Street

Wrapped up our four trading days this week mixed/higher/lower: The Dow Jones lost 2.8 per cent, The S&P 500 lost 1.9 per cent and the tech heavy Nasdaq lost 2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,216 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 1.3 per cent to US$74.93.
Its futures are pointing to a rise of 2.2 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.34 up at US$56.78 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.70 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading mixed: Bitcoin has fallen 9.7 per cent to US$5,616, Ethereum has fallen 1.1 per cent to US$179 and Bitcoin Cash has gained about 1.6 per cent to US$4.65, in the last 24 hours.