The Australian share market had a volatile day of trade, ending lower for fourth straight session, erasing two weeks of gains.
Heavy selling today came from Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) with its shares falling about 14 per cent earlier in the session after their board announced the proposed merger with Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API) is not in the best interests of shareholders.
Nevertheless, half of the sectors made a profit today with Utilities and Telcos gaining the most. While Energy led the decliners, despite New Hope (ASX:NHC) shares rising after it was granted environmental approval for its Acland Coal Mine in Queensland, with its stage three project to generate $7 billion in economic activity over 14 years.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.2 per cent lower or 14 points lower at 6,161.
Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 62 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 4 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a fall of 10 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 16 point fall tomorrow morning
Packaging company Amcor (ASX:AMC) and Bemis (NYSE:BMS) announced they have made significant progress toward their merger and creation of a new company, Amcor plc. It comes as the combination of the two entities was recommended by both companies. Also today all relevant paperwork was lodged with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) for approval. The documents will then also be lodged with the ASX, as the new entity, Amcor plans to be dual listed in the US and on the ASX. Combined sales for the new entity should be in the order of US$13 billion The company expects the takeover will be completed on 15 May 2019. Shares in Amcor (ASX:AMC) closed 0.6 per cnet lower at $14.80.
Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) has rejected the takeover from Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API), saying it’s not in the best interests of Sigma shareholders. On 14 December 2018, API made a non-binding takeover offer to buy all Sigma shares for 0.31 API share plus $0.23 cents for every Sigma share. Since January this year, API and Sigma have been engaged in due diligence.
Corporate Travel Management (CTM) (ASX:CTD) has responded to market speculation saying while it is continuing to assess a number of potential acquisition targets, it is in early talks with Capita PLC about its travel businesses. However, travel business CTM, assured shareholders that no takeovers or purchases will be made this financial year. CTM also says there is no certainty it will reach an agreement with Capita.
Dexus Property Group (ASX:DXS) inked a deal to buy the remaining 50 per cent stake in the MLC Centre in Sydney. The GPT Group (ASX:GPT) announced the sale of its 50 per cent stake for $800 million. That’s a 3 per cent premium to GPT’s 31 December 2018 book value. The companies are expecting to settle early next month. Meantime, Dexus priced $425 million of exchangeable notes and will pay a fixed coupon of 2.3 per cent per year.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was S&P/ASX Utilities adding 0.5 per cent while the worst performing sector was S&P/ASX Energy, shedding 0.9 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR), rising 5.2 per cent to close at $2.81. Shares in Appen (ASX:APX) and New Hope Corporation (ASX:NHC) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG), dropping 12.3 per cent to close at $0.54. Shares in Inghams Group (ASX:ING) and Adelaide Brighton (ASX:ABC) followed lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has lost 1.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.4 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,305 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.7 per cent to US$85.25
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.4 per cent.
Light crude is $0.28 up at US$57.40 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.58 US cents.