Market Wrap: Aus shares drop on China data, US fears

Market Reports

The Australian share market has lost ground today, closing 0.44 per cent down, amid an unexpected drop in Chinese exports and mounting fears over the partial US government shut-down and possible US debt default. All the major sectors finished the day trading weaker, with the healthcare sector the worst performer. 

Figures

Today - the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 23 points down to finish at 5,208. 
 
The value of trades was $2.6 billion on volume of 470 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were 
 
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
Westpac Banking Corp (ASX:WBC)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 25 points down.
 
Negotiations over the US budget and debt ceiling have so far been unsuccessful and anxiety is growing with just three working days left to raise the debt ceiling before the October 17 deadline. 

China economic news
 
Meantime, China's export growth fizzled in September, posting a 0.3 per cent decline as sales to South-East Asia tumbled. That was in sharp contrast to market expectations for a rise of 6 per cent.
 
Australian economic news
 
The demand for home loans has fallen more than expected in August. The number of home loans granted in August fell a seasonally adjusted 3.9 per cent to 49,912. Total housing finance fell 1.2 per cent by value in August, to $23.8 billion.
 
Company news now
 
Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) has sold a rare Argyle diamond for a record $2 million as overseas buyers snapped up dozens of precious stones in this year's Pink Diamonds Tender. The tender of 64 pink, red and blue diamonds set a string of records for Rio, including the highest price for a diamond from the Argyle mine in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Shares in Rio Tinto lifted 0.11 per cent to close at $61.65.
 
Gindalbie Metals Limited (ASX:GBG) has appointed former senior Rio Tinto Iron Ore executive Dale Harris as managing director, succeeding Tim Netscher. The company says the appointment is in line with its previously announced succession plan, after Mr Netscher agreed to extend his contract until the end of the year to ensure management stability during the Karara project ramp-up. Shares in Gindalbie jumped 4.17 per cent at the close to 12.5 cents.
 
OZ Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL) shares plunged after the copper and gold miner said it would miss it’s full year production target. The miner says copper production will slide by as much as 14 per cent to between 70,000 and 78,000 tonnes.
 
Stockland Corporation Limited (ASX:SGP) is preparing to develop a new residential community in Perth’s South West after a local government rezoning approval. The rezoning signals important progress for Stockland’s proposed new community, to be known as Calleya.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was REITS – it lost 1.2 points to close at 1,032.The worst performing sector was Health Care, losing 110 points to close at 13,734 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was Sundance Resources Limited(ASX:SDL), rising 2.67 per cent to close at 8 cents. Shares in Energy World Corporation Limited (ASX:EWC) and Arrium Limited (ASX:ARI) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was OZ Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL), dropping 9.32 per cent to close at $3.99. Shares in Alacer Gold Corp (ASX:AQG) and St. Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM) also closed lower. 
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,272 an ounce. Light crude is $0.99 down at $US102.02 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 94.7 US cents.