The Australian share market closed lower for the second day on the back of intensified fears of an economic slowdown, with all three US major indices losing over 1 per cent overnight with the Nasdaq down the most, 1.9 per cent. From the get-go today, we started our session underwater, only popping our heads above water and out of the red momentarily with half of the sectors leading the rally.
But selling in annuity provider Challenger (ASX:CGF) also capped gains today, after its shares fell to a two-year low, while the Energy sector also saw heavy selling as well, with the sector losing 1.5 per cent.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.3 per cent or 15 points lower to finish at 5,844.
Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 56 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 5 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing gain of 17 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 25 point fall tomorrow morning
The investment management company, Challenger (ASX:CGF) has had its earnings hit by the increase in market volatility, with lower cash distributions and lower funds management performance fees, a $4 million drop on the prior corresponding period. As a result, it reduced its FY19 guidance, to be between $545 and $565 million and advised its first half 2019 net profit after tax will be $200 million. The news saw its shares fall to early 2016 levels, wiping out years of gains. Challenger (ASX:CGF) shares fell 17.1 per cent to $7.65.
Nickel sulphide explorer and producer Western Areas (ASX:WSA) reported a rise in total Nickel sold in the December quarter, while its operational cash flow for the quarter was lower, and revenue fell on the back of the lower average nickel price for the quarter. However the company says it’s on track to meet full-year guidance. Its shares lost 4.2 per cent.
Cannabis company Elixinol Global (ASX:EXL) has just launched its branded products in New Zealand with its cannabidiol products are now available on a prescription basis. Its shares gained 8.6 per cent today.
Global litigation funder, IMF Bentham (ASX:IMF) has proposed to fund claims of certain shareholders of Danske Bank who suffered loss after acquiring shares in Danske Bank between a specific period. Its shares lost 3.1 per cent.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was Health Care adding 0.9 per cent while the worst performing sector was Energy shedding 1.5 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX:SAR), rising 4.9 per cent to close at $3.02. Shares in Costa Group Holdings Limited (ASX:CGC) and Bapcor Limited (ASX:BAP) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Challenger Limited (ASX:CGF), dropping 17.1 per cent to close at $7.65. Shares in IOOF Holdings Limited (ASX:IFL) and Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) followed lower.
Higher:Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.03 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.1per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,284 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 1.5 per cent to $74.78.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.7 per cent
Light crude is $1.05 lower at $US52.99 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.38 US cents.