Market Wrap: Aus shares finish in the red

Market Reports

The Australian share market has closed 0.8 per cent down after being pushed into the red at open by poor earnings reports out of the US and recession fears in Spain. Investor sentiment has not been improved by a jump in Inflation for the September quarter.

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 37 points lower to finish at 4,506. On the futures market, the SPI is currently 35 points down.

Economic news 

The latest inflation figures have beaten expectations. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported a forecast beating rise in inflation in three months to the end of September. The consumer price index has shown an increase of 1.4 per cent in the quarterly headline rate, compared to a 0.5 per cent increase in the prior quarter. On an annual basis, the inflation rate increased 2 per cent in the September quarter, down from an annual rate of 1.2 per cent in the prior quarter. 
 
Company news

Whitehaven Coal Limited (ASX:WHC) entered a trading halt today after mining magnate Nathan Tinkler reportedly threatened to seek the removal of board members if the company does not release an earnings update. According to Fairfax reports, Tinkler has given Whitehaven chairman Mark Vaile until the close of business tomorrow to meet his demands. Shares in Whitehaven Coallast tradedat $3.20.
 
QBE Insurance Group Limited (ASX:QBE) said in a presentation to investors it is on track to meet insurance profit margin guidance of better than 12 per cent, and achieve low single digit premium growth. The insurer is achieving overall premium rate increases above 5 per cent in Australia and North America, and says its investment yields are ahead of guidance. Shares in QBE closed 0.66 per cent downat $13.62. 
  
Worleyparsons Limited (ASX:WOR) shares sagged 5.8 per cent today despite the acquisition of South African engineering designer TWP Holdings for $100 million.
 
Shares in Gindalbie Metals Limited (ASX:GBG) rose 9.2 per cent today with the company despatching the second shipment of iron ore from its Karara project in Western Australia, sending 55,000 tonnes of ore to China.
 
Sigma Pharmaceutical Limited (ASX:SIP) dipped 2.3 per cent after reports it has reached a settlement agreement in relation to a class action launched on behalf of shareholders in October 2010.
 
Discovery Metals Limited’s (ASX:DML)shares firmed 1.16 per cent after confirmation Chinese suitors are pushing ahead with their $830 million takeover bid.
 
Best and worst performers

All the sectors finished down today, the best performer among them was Consumer Staples adding 23 points to close at 8,600. The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 210 points to close at 12,678 points.

The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 wasGindalbie Metals Limited (ASX:GBG), rising 9.23 per cent as we saw earlier, it closed at $0.35. Shares in Fairfax Media Limited (ASX:FXJ) and Virgin Australia Holdings Limited (ASX:VAH) also closed higher. 

The worst performing stock was Decmil Group Limited (ASX:DCG), dropping 10.38 per cent to close at $2.59. Shares in Ten Network Holdings Limited (ASX:TEN) and Coalspur Mines Limited (ASX:CPL) also finished the day lower.    

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,711 an ounce. Light crude is $0.64 up at $US87.31 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying $US1.03.