Market Wrap: ASX ends 10 day streak

Market Reports

The Australian share market edged slightly lower after a fairly low volume trading day to start the week, falling 0.1 per cent to break a ten day streak of positive territory closes. Virgin Australia and Paladin energy shares stole the headlines and finished 1 and 2 in the worst performers, while the Aussue dollar recovered slightly from touching a three year low following disappointing retail spending data.
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 6 points down to finish at 5,111. The value of trades was $2.4 billion on volume of 478 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 8 points down.
 
Economic news
 
The Australian Industry Group’s Performance of Services Index reached its lowest level since the GFC, falling 2.1 points to 39.4 in July. 
 
TD Securities and the Melbourne Institute’s inflation gauge for July says the rate of inflation increased in July however remains within the RBA’s 2-3 per cent target band. The monthly inflation gauge rose by 0.5 per cent, pushing the yearly rate to 2.7 per cent. 
 
The Australian Bureau of Statistics says retail sales were flat in June, following a 0.1 per cent rise in May. Economists had tipped a 0.4 per cent rise. 
 
Company news 
 
Northern Star Resources Limited (ASX:NST) shares jumped today after the gold producer lifted its second half dividend and announced a positive outlook for the current financial year. Northern Star lifted its full year net profit by 30 per cent to a record $28.3 million, stemming from record revenue of $144.2 million and record production, up 45 per cent to 88,614 ounces. Shares in Northern Star closed 7.59 per cent up at $0.85. 
 
Billabong International Limited (ASX:BBG) shares received a kick today following the confirmation of Launa Inman’s stepping down as CEO and the announcement of Peter Myers as acting chief. The surfwear retailer is waiting for a greenlight to finalise the appointment of Scott Olivet as its new boss, and confirmed today he will be acting as a consultant to Mr Myers for the time being. Shares in Billabong closed 3.61 per cent up at $0.43. 

iiNet Limited (ASX:IIN) will acquire South Australian internet service provider Adam Internet for $60 million. 
 
Virgin Australia Holdings Limited (ASX:VAH) expects to report a full-year loss of between $90 and $110 million amid difficult economic conditions and restructuring costs.
 
Envestra Limited (ASX:ENV) has spurned a highly conditional takeover offer from pipeline operator APA Group (ASX:APA), declaring it to be too low and not in the best shareholder interest.
 
Argo Investments’ Limited (ASX:ARG) full year net profit lifted by 4.6 per cent to $175 million, attributed to an increase in dividends and distributions from investments. 
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Consumer discretionary adding 15 points to close at 1,707.
The worst performing sector was Real estate investment trusts, losing 8 points to close at 1,008 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Resolute Mining Limited (ASX:RSG), rising 10.49 per cent to close at $0.79. Shares in Buru Energy Limited (ASX:BRU) and Northern Star Resources Limited (ASX:NST) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN), dropping 27.50 per cent to close at $0.72. Shares in Virgin Australia Holdings Limited (ASX:VAH) and Emeco Holdings Limited (ASX:EHL) also closed lower. 
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,315 an ounce. Light crude is $0.39 up at $US107 a barrel.

The Australian dollar

The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8891.