Santa brings new 2-year lows to ASX: Aus shares close 1.3% lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market hit new two-year lows today losing 1.3 per cent, with the mining sector falling 3 per cent and lithium players dragging the chain. Lithium Australian majors like Orocobre (ASX:ORE) fell 13 per cent, while Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) lost 10 per cent.

As for the sectors on the whole, Materials losses far surpassed the losses made in Tech stocks, the Energy sector, Telcos, Industrials, Healthcare, Financials and Consumer Discretionary which all lost over 1 per cent.

Meantime, the Property sector (REITs) gained over 1 per cent today, with a lot of companies like Growthpoint Property (ASX:GOZ) declaring a half year distribution

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 1.3 per cent or 75 points at 5,506.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 180 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 20 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing fall of 46 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 61 point fall tomorrow morning

Economic news

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 5.1 per cent in November, up from 5 per cent, surprising the market as consensus expected the rate would remain at 5 per cent. The seasonally adjusted number of persons employed increased by 37,000 persons.

Company news

Orocobre (ASX:ORE) has advised its lithium carbonate sales are tipped to fall 8 per cnet on the June half, to 5,000 tonnes for the December half year, at a price of US$12,470 per tonne. The pricing reflects the softer market conditions in China which have directly impacted shorter-term contracts. Shares in Orocobre (ASX:ORE) closed 13.6 per cent lower at $3.37.

KKR has shaved down its takeover proposal for MYOB Group (ASX:MYO) from $3.77 per share ($2.2 billion) to $3.40 per share ($2.0 billion), following KKR and its associates conducting due diligence. The revised proposal expires at 5 pm Friday 21 December 2018. Shares in MYOB Group (ASX:MYO) have nosed dived 14 per cent lower. 

Helloworld Travel (ASX:HLO) has snapped up Show Group Enterprises for $7.0 million. It’s a leading travel management specialist and freight logistics organisation servicing entertainment, film, arts, fashion, corporate and sporting industries. The purchase will be earnings accretive in FY19 and beyond.

Downer EDI (ASX:DOW) has been awarded a New South Wales Government contract to build Stage 1 of the Parramatta Light Rail project in a 50:50 joint venture with CPB Contractors. The design and construction Infrastructure works will generate $420 million in revenue to Downer.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Real Estate Investment Trusts adding 1.1 per cent while the worst performing sector was Materials shedding 3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was nib Holdings Limited (ASX:NHF), rising 3.3 per cent to close at $4.95. Shares in Medibank Private Limited (ASX:MPL) and Metcash Limited (ASX:MTS) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was MYOB Group Limited (ASX:MYO), dropping 14 per cent to close at $2.90. Shares in Orocobre Limited (ASX:ORE) and Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX:GXY) followed lower.

Asian markets

Lower:Japan’s Nikkei has lost 3.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 1.1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.8 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,245 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 0.2 per cent to US$69.15 and its futures are pointing to a rise of 0.6 per cent.
Light crude is $0.81 higher at $US47.41 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.93 US cents.

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