$191m write down for Orica: Aus shares close 0.4% lower

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock

The positive sentiment we saw at this morning's open was short lived. Uncertainty plagued the market today as investors turned bearish leading to a sell off. The ASX200 finished 0.4 per cent lower at the close. Most sectors ended in the red with Real Estate taking the biggest hit. The stand out stock today was Hub24 (ASX:HUB) which is still capping gains following the news that it had its best March quarter to date.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 26 points lower to finish at 6,360.

Broker moves

Goldman Sachs has downgraded real estate major Dexus (ASX:DXS) from a neutral to a sell with a 12 month price target of $10.70. It says that aside from its real estate portfolio, value drivers are limited.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 26 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 2 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a lift of 8 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 32 point fall tomorrow morning.

Company news

Explosive and blasting systems company, Orica (ASX:ORI) has signaled a $191 million write down in its results for the first half of 2019. The write down relates to defective components at its troubled Burrup Technical Ammonium Nitrate plant and implementation of its new IT system. The plant's utilisation will be lower than the 20 per cent previously communicated. However the Group outlook for the 2019 finance year remains unchanged. Shares in Orica (ASX:ORI) closed 1 per cent lower at $18.81.

Vita Life Sciences (ASX:VLS) has announced the resignation of Chief Executive Officer Dr Edward Choo with effect from today. Dr Choo was appointed as the CEO of the Asian regional business in 2017. The Board will commence a search for a permanent replacement. In the interim the CFO, Chin L Khoo, will be acting CEO of the Asia region, assisted by Andrew O’Keefe. Shares in Vita Life Sciences (ASX:VLS) closed 1.2 per cent lower at 86 cents.

Medical devices company PolyNovo (ASX:PNV) has appointed German company PolyMedics Innovations as the distributor for NovoSorb BTM in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxemburg.

Coles supermarkets (ASX:COL) revenue for the third quarter is up 3.2 per cent on the prior corresponding period to $7.27 billion.

Employment company SEEK (ASX:SEK) has invested in two high growth global online education businesses called FutureLearn and Coursera.

Nickel sulphide explorer and producer Western Areas (ASX:WSA) has reported significant improvements in both the grade of ore mined and cost of production for the March quarter.

Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ) has today announced that Mike Roan has been appointed as Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately.

IPOs

MCP Income Opportunities Trust (ASX:MOT) listed. The investment trust floated with an issue price of $2, opened at $2.04 and it closed at $2.04.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Info Tech adding 0.6 per cent while the worst performing sector was Real Estate, shedding 1.8 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Hub24 (ASX:HUB), rising 5 per cent to close at $14.84. Shares in Afterpay Touch Group (ASX:APT) and Nearmap (ASX:NEA) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), dropping 6.1 per cent to close at 61 cents. Shares in Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) and Domain Holdings (ASX:DHG) followed lower.

Turning to the Asian markets which are higher:Japan’s Nikkei did not trade, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.9 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.4 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,285 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 0.1 per cent to US$93.58.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.5 per cent.
Light crude is US$1.91 lower at US$63.30 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.60 US cents.