Market Wrap: ASX retreats from 14 month high

Market Reports

Despite an upbeat US jobs report the Australian share market has retreated from a 14 month high and closed 0.3 per cent down. Local stocks snapped eight days of gains following a disappointing read on the local jobs market and ahead of the official monthly jobs report on Thursday.
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index lost 13 points today to end at 4,482. On the futures market the SPI is 11 points lower.
 
Economic news

The World Bank has cut its outlook for growth this year in the East Asia and Pacific region. The World Bank has also warned the region’s largest economy China faces a more pronounced slowdown than expected, and lowered the country’s growth outlook to 7.7 per cent from 8.2 per cent forecast in May. 
 
China's services sector growth recovered last month from a one year low in August. The HCBC services sector Purchasing Managers' Index increased to 54.3 in September from 52 the month before, remaining above the 50 level which indicates expansion. 
 
Job advertisements have fallen for the sixth straight month. According to ANZ Banking Group’s (ASX:ANZ) job advertisements survey jobs ads were down 2.8 per cent in September from the month before and 10.8 per cent down from the year before.
 
Company news

Shares in Seven West Media Limited (ASX:SWM) lifted on speculation its biggest shareholder Seven Group Holdings Limited (ASX:SVW) could be preparing to swoop. According to RBS analysts Kerry Stokes’ controlled Seven Group Holdings could take advantage of a sagging share price and acquire the remaining 67 per cent interest in Seven West Media it does not own for $1.50 per share. After slumping more than 50 per cent this year shares in Seven West Media lifted 4.08 per cent today, ending at $1.28. 
 
Shares in QR National (ASX:QRN) rose today as Australia's largest rail operator announced it will buy back $1 billion of its stock from its major shareholder, the Queensland government. The Queensland government will offload an extra $500 million of stock to a small number of cornerstone investors taking its stake in QR National to 16 per cent, from 34 per cent. Shares in QR National rose 5.19 per cent today, finishing at $3.65. 

Shares in Aquila Resources Limited (ASX:AQA) pulled back after the miner revealed a $1.4 billion cost blowout at its 50 per cent owned West Pilbara iron ore project.
 
Shares in Aquarius Platinum Limited (ASX:AQP) fell after announcing the resignation of CEO Stuart Murray. The board will consider a replacement ahead of his departure at the end of March 2013. 
 
After Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) cut its variable rate on home loans by 0.18 per cent on Friday its subsidiary St George today lowered its rate by 17 basis points to 6.69 per cent. 
 
Shares in TUC Resources Limited (ASX:TUC) jumped after the junior explorer said it has acquired a new tenement through swapping one of its own with Fisher Resources Pty Ltd. 
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was industrials adding 31 points to close at 3,390.
The worst performing sector was utilities, losing 59 points to close at 5,015 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO), rising 5.59 per cent to close at $1.51. Shares in QR National (ASX:QRN) and Coalspur Mines Limited (ASX:CPL) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Intrepid Mines Limited (ASX:IAU), dropping 13.98 per cent to close at $0.40. Shares in Resolute Mining Limited (ASX:RSG) and St. Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM) also closed lower. 
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,773 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.63 down at $US89.25 a barrel.

The Australian dollar

The Australian dollar is buying $US1.01.