The Australian share market recovered from its mid afternoon lows to finish 0.3 per cent down, with some boisterous gains in the healthcare sector offset by some equally robust falls in energy stocks. Among the companies, Billabong rode a wave of revitalized investor confidence to soar over 46 per cent on a positive update regarding its drawn out takeover talks, while Perseus Mining was punished for cutting production forecasts for its gold operation in Ghana.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 13 points down to finish at 4,656. The value of trades was $5.5 billion on volume of 1.1 billion shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ)
On the futures market the SPI is 11 points higher.
Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM)
has appointed former ASX Chairman Maurice Newman to conduct a review of its investor relations practices in the wake of its write down disclosure saga. Chairman Don Mercer says Mr Newman will have access to the full resources of the company in order to conduct a full and thorough independent review, before reporting back to Newcrest’s board. Shares in Newcrest closed 2.41 per cent down at $9.30.
Billabong International Limited (ASX:BBG)
shares surged more than 46 per cent today after the embattled surfwear retailer emerged from its takeover silence to shed some positive light on previously stalled talks with its suitors. The company says refinancing and asset sale talks with Altamont Capital Partners and Sycamore Partners are well advanced, having previously advised investors in early June that discussions had failed. Shares in Billabong closed 46.15 per cent up at $0.19.
KFC and Sizzler franchisee Collins Foods Limited (ASX:CKF)
has posted a 43 per cent rise in its full year net profit of $16.3 million despite the challenges of a subdued retail environment.
Women’s fashion retailer Noni B Limited (ASX:NBL)
shares fell 5 per cent today with the company expecting to post a full year loss of up to $4 million after announcing an impairment charge to its goodwill.
Engineering and construction giant Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI)
shares firmed slightly today as it won a $1.15 billion contract to build Sydney's north west rail link in a joint venture with Dragados.
Glove and condom maker Ansell Limited (ASX:ANN)
gained just over 3 per cent as it announced new CFO Neil Salmon will begin his role on July 15 and implement the strategic plan aimed at improving short-term results as well as positioning the company for long term growth.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Healthcare adding 201 points to close at 12,923.
The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 219 points to close at 12,194.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Billabong International Limited (ASX:BBG)
, rising 46.15 per cent to close at $0.19. Shares in Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML)
and Ardent Leisure Group (ASX:AAD)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Perseus Mining Limited (ASX:PRU)
, dropping 22.56 per cent to close at $0.52. Shares in Linc Energy Limited (ASX:LNC)
and Mineral Deposits Limited (ASX:MDL)
also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,279 an ounce. Light crude is $0.28 down at $US94.90 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.925.