The Australian share market closed flat after trading in a narrow range for the majority of the session. Local stocks re-entered positive territory from an early dip on the back of Chinese GDP data meeting expectations. Among the sectors, Consumer discretionary posted minor gains while Consumer staples went backwards.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 7 points up to finish at 4,981. The value of trades was $3.2 billion on volume of 609 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ)
, BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
On the futures market the SPI is 8 points up.
China's economy expanded in line with expectations in the June quarter, according to the statistics bureau. China's gross domestic product (GDP) came in at 7.5 per cent in the quarter, down slightly from the previous quarter's 7.7 per cent, but in line with the official government target for the year.
Sales of new motor vehicles in Australia hit a record high in June, an indication consumers felt upbeat despite surveys showing subdued confidence. The ABS says new vehicle sales rose 4.0 per cent to 97,687 in June, from 93,927 in May. New car sales are up 7.1 per cent on June last year.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics says Business finance commitments lifted by 2.5 per cent to $31.75 billion in May, while personal lending commitments fell by 3.1 per cent to $8.08 billion.
RHG Limited’s (ASX:RHG)
board has accepted a sweetened takeover bid from a syndicate led by Resimac, put by the group to counter a rival offer from mortgage lender Pepper Australia. In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, RHG said it had accepted a counter proposal from the Resimac syndicate of 48 cents per share, an increase of 3.9 cents per share over the original offer. Shares in RHG closed 4.04 per cent up at $0.52.
Charter Hall Group (ASX:CHC)
has sold the Home head office in Melbourne to a private investor for $48 million and will use some of the funds to repay $27.5 million in debt. Managed fund Charter Hall REIT will direct a further $10 million from the sale toward shopping centre investments. Shares in Charter Hall closed steady at $3.93.
Gindalbie Metals Limited (ASX:GBG)
jumped 22.22 percent following a rise in metals prices. Gold, silver, platinum and palladium all climbed higher after China's data release.
Treasury Wine Estates Limited (ASX:TWE)
expects a $160 million hit to pre-tax earnings for the full year, as it offers discounts to move excess stock and destroys aged inventory. Treasury wine shares shed 12.2 per cent today, finishing as the worst performer on the ASX200.
AGL Energy Limited (ASX:AGK)
has announced a takeover deal for energy retailer Australian Power & Gas Company Limited (ASX:APK)
, valuing the target at $158 million.
Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL)
is being sued by the estate of the late James Cassley, formerly of investment company GMP Securities Europe, who lost his life in a Congo plane crash in June 2010.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Consumer discretionary adding 13 points to close at 1,661.
The worst performing sector was Consumer staples, losing 84 points to close at 9,648.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Linc Energy Limited (ASX:LNC)
, rising 26.18 per cent to close at $1.74. Shares in Billabong International Limited (ASX:BBG)
and Emeco Holdings Limited (ASX:EHL)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Treasury Wine Estates Limited (ASX:TWE)
, dropping 12.20 per cent to close at $5.11. Shares in Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML)
and Regis Resources Limited (ASX:RRL)
also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,287 an ounce. Light crude is $0.02 up at $US105.97 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Aussie dollar rose above 90 U.S. cents to hit a session high after China's closely-watched economic data, moving off Friday's three-year low against the greenback.The local currency is now buying $US0.9118.