Market Wrap: ASX flat as earnings steal spotlight

Market Reports

The Australian share market side-stepped either side of the open to end flat. Earnings reports were in the spotlight as traders entered the biggest week of reporting season. Higher commodity prices supported the energy and mining sectors while the financials and telco sectors were weighed down by heavyweights Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) trading ex-dividend today. 

Figures

The S&P/ASX 200 index finished 1 point lower at 5,113. 

The value of trades was $4.6 billion on volume of 748 million shares at the close of trade. 
 
The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 15 points higher.
 
Economic news
 
New motor vehicles sales in Australia fell last month. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports sales of new cars fell 3.5 per cent to 93,797 in July. Total sales are 3 per cent higher year-on-year. 
 
Reporting season results
 
BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL) has narrowed its annual net loss and expanded its exposure to the steel market with acquisitions from Hills Holdings Limited (ASX:HIL). The company booked a full year net loss of $84 million and expects to be back in the black in the first half of this financial year. But, investors were more concerned with the steel maker’s outlook. BlueScope cast a shadow over its second half result due to domestic demand uncertainty and ruled out dividends. Shares in BlueScope Steel slumped 14.08 per cent today to end the session at $4.70. 
 
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited (ASX:BEN) has boosted its annual net profit by 80 per cent but warned credit growth could remain subdued. The regional lender delivered a full year net profit of $352.3 million while its cash profit rose 7.7 per cent to $348 million. Managing Director Mike Hirst says despite low levels of consumer confidence and credit and high competition the result shows improvements in profitability and efficiency. Shares in Bendigo and Adelaide Bank retreated from earlier gains to end the session flat at $10.60. 
 
Shares in Aurizon Holdings Limited (ASX:AZJ) lost 0.88 per cent after the freight rail operator revealed a rise in full year profits, announced management changes and forecast resources sector growth will continue at more moderate levels. 
 
Shares in Patties Foods Limited (ASX:PFL) ended flat after the pie maker’s annual net profit sank 75 per cent, as it took an $11.8 million non-cash charge on its frozen fruit assets, and flagged future price rises across its product lines.

Shares in Zicom Group Limited (ASX:ZGL) dropped 6 per cent after the equipment manufacturer booked a 12 per cent fall in its annual net profit partially due to shipment and order confirmation delays.

Shares in Capral Limited (ASX:CAA) sank 5.26 per cent after the manufacturer of aluminium extrusion products widened its first half net loss to $52.6 million which included an impairment charge on fixed assets.
 
Best and worst performers 
 
The best performing sector was health care adding 198 points to close at 13,414.
The worst performing sector was telco services, losing 62 points to close at 1,698 points.

The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 index was Kingsgate Consolidated Limited (ASX:KCN), rising 17.47 per cent to close at $2.32. Shares in Billabong International Limited (ASX:BBG) and St. Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Fleetwood Corporation Limited (ASX:FWD), dropping 17.68 per cent to close at $3.40. Shares in BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL) Arrium Limited (ASX:ARI) also closed lower. 
 
IPOs
 
Birch and Prestige Investment Group Limited (ASX:BOP) debuted on the Australian Securities Exchange today. The designer, manufacturer and distributor of kitchen facilities floated with an issue price of $0.40, opened at $0.42 and a closed at $0.43.    
 
Z Energy Limited NPV (ASX:ZNZ) started trading today in both New Zealand and Australia: On the ASX the transport fuel distribution company floated with an issue price of $3.31, opened at $3.26 and a closed at $3.23.    
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,373 an ounce. 
Light crude is $0.15 down at $US107 a barrel. 
 
The Australian dollar 

The Australian dollar is buying 92.13 US cents. 

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