Market Wrap: Aus shares close 0.3% lower

Market Reports

Despite positive leads, the Australian share market opened slightly lower, recovered some ground in afternoon trade on the back of steady Chinese manufacturing data before closing 0.3 per cent down. 

Today, the S&P/ASX 200 index was 14 points down to finish at 4,352. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 13 points lower.

Economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported Australia’s producer price index dropped by 0.3 per cent in the first three months of this year. The surprise fall brings the annual figure to 1.4 per cent.

Company news

Shares in Minotaur Exploration Limited (ASX:MEP) jumped 14.71 per cent today as it announced the sale of its Roxby Downs area tenements to BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) for $10 million cash. Minotaur says the deep cover associated with the five deposits was not consistent with its risk profile and made sense to sell the tenements. Shares in Minotaur closed 14.71 per cent up at $0.195.

Uranium miner Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN) will issue $US225 million in convertible bonds with the option to upsize to $US275 million in order to fund a buy-back of older convertible bonds due in March next year. The company says any amount not applied to the tender offer, will be used to strengthen its balance sheet and pursue future growth opportunities. Shares in Paladin last traded at $1.68.

West-African focused iron ore miner Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL) has received the green light to progress its Nabeba deposit, part of the company’s Mbalam iron ore project in the Republic of Congo.

Junior oil and gas explorer Molopo Energy Limited (ASX:MPO) has increased its capital investment budget to $98 million from $36 million. The expanded capital program reflects the company’s increased confidence in the Wolfcamp play in West Texas.

Spotless Group Limited (ASX:SPT) says it's still in discussions with Pacific Equity Partners to see whether a viable proposal could be put to Spotless shareholders.

Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG) says the cost to upgrade its BassGass project has risen to $460 million from $360 million due to construction challenges associated with working on the remote Yolla platform in Bass Strait.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Telco Services adding 7 points to close at 1,169.
The worst performing sector was Health Care losing 69 points to close at 8,913 points.

The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Alacer Gold Corporation (ASX:AQG) rising 4.26 per cent to close at $8.32 Shares in Dart Energy and Discovery Metals also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Resolute Mining Limited (ASX:RSG) dropping 5.23 per cent to close at $1.63. Shares in Mount Gibson and Ramelius Resources also closed lower.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,642 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.14 down at $US103.74 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.0336.