Market Wrap: ASX flat on growth worries

Market Reports

The Australian share market has ended the day flat, investors continue to show their concern about growth prospects in China and the US.

Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 6 points to close at 4,338. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 16 points lower.

Economic news

The total number of job vacancies in February was 182,200, seasonally adjusted, compared with 180,900 in the previous quarterly survey in November, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. That’s a rise of 0.7 per cent.

Company news

A double whammy for Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI) with further writedowns for both the Victorian Desalination Project and Airport Link, wiping off more than $250 million from its profit forecast. Leighton is now forecasting underlying net profit after tax to be in the range of $400-$450 million for the year down from its previous forecast of $600 to $650 million. Leighton shares plunged on the news, closing 6.69 per cent lower at $22.16.

Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO, NYSE:RIO) has received a binding offer for its European alumina business from HIG. Rio says the terms of the binding offer are confidential. A period of exclusivity has been agreed to and Rio will respond to the binding offer following a period of consultation. Rio Tinto shares closed 0.26 per cent lower at $64.36.

Alumina Limited’s (ASX:AWC) credit rating has been placed on a negative watch by Standard & Poor’s.

Transurban Group (ASX:TCL) confirms full-year distribution guidance of at least 29 cents per security.

There are reports Lachlan Murdoch has sold his 9 per cent stake in Prime Media Group Limited (ASX:PRT) for $22 million.

And Macquarie Group Limited (ASX:MQG) is shifting its headquarters from the former Sydney GPO site to the former Commonwealth Bank Building.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Health Care adding 154 points to close at 8,765.

The worst performing sector was Energy, falling 149 points to close at 14,245 points.

The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was AWE, rising 3.8 per cent to close at $1.91. Shares in Navitas and CSL also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Mirabela Nickel dropping 12.14 per cent to close at $0.615. Shares in Leighton Holdings and Saracen Mineral Holdings also closed lower.

IPOs

Colonial Holding Company Limited (ASX:CNG) floated today, with an issue price of $100, opening price of $99.50 and a closing price of $99.69 and Spencer Resources Limited (ASX:SPA) also floated, with an issue price of 20 cents, opening and closing price of 21 cents.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,661 an ounce. Light crude is $0.14 lower at $US105.27 a barrel.

The Australian dollar

The Australian dollar is buying $US1.0371.

 

 


 


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