The Australian share market has closed lower for a sixth straight day, tumbling from early gains to finish 0.8 per cent down, hit by losses among energy stocks, the miners and another big sell-off in the big banks. The local bourse is 2.4 per cent down for the week, adding to a 4.8 per cent fall so far in December, which has seen $70 billion wiped off the market’s value. The current losing streak is the worst since July 2012.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 42 points down to finish at 5,063. The value of trades was $5.6 billion on volume of 1 billion shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
, BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
On the futures market the SPI is 56 points down.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the jobless rate rose to 5.8 per cent last month, meeting expectations. 21 thousand new jobs were added to the economy, comprising 15,500 full time and 5,500 part time positions. The participation rate remained stable at 64.8 per cent.
Linc Energy Limited (ASX:LNC)
says Malaysian hotel and gaming giant Genting has been secured as a major investor, set to take a 10 per cent stake in the oil and gas explorer. Linc CEO Peter Bond says the company is under-valued in Australia and believes it will garner more investor support now due to Singapore's proximity to Asia's growing energy demand. Shares in Linc closed flat at $0.99.
APN News and Media Limited (ASX:APN)
says an error in its 2012 financial statements contained an error, meaning its loss was more than $50 million greater than that which was reported. Due to its intangible assets being overstated, the reported loss of $432 million should have been $483.5 million. The error has been acknowledged by APN and its auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers. Shares in APN closed 3.26 per cent down at $0.45.
Rio Tinto Limited(ASX:RIO)
says it has already exceeded its target of cutting $2 billion in operating costs by the end of the year and it will focus on paying down debt next year.
Natural gas company Envestra Limited (ASX:ENV)
has forecast a small full year earnings upgrade on the back of higher than anticipated gas volume to the residential and commercial market so far this year.
AWE Limited (ASX:AWE)
has successfully executed a $300 million unsecured bank loan facility, positioning the oil and gas explorer for current and future growth activities.
The competition watchdog is seeking views on whether the scope of regulation of Graincorp’s Limited (ASX:GNC)
bulk grain port terminal in Newcastle should be reduced.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Consumer Staples adding 24 points to close at 9,519.
The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 191 points to close at 12,858.
The best performing stock in the S&PASX 200 was OZ Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL)
, rising 12.08 per cent to close at $2.97. Shares in Kathmandu Holdings Limited (ASX:KMD)
and Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX:RHC)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Transfield Services Limited (ASX:TSE)
, dropping 13.78 per cent to close at $0.84. Shares in Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL)
and QBE Insurance Group Limited (ASX:QBE)
also closed lower.
Sino Australia Oil and Gas Limited (ASX:SAO)
started trading today. The holding company floated with an issue price of $0.50, opened at $0.54 and a closed at $0.51.
PM Capital Global Opportunities Fund Limited (ASX:PGF)
started trading today. The investment company floated with an issue price of $1.00, opened at $0.97 and a closed at $0.94.
Real Energy Corporation Limited (ASX:RLE)
started trading today. The oil and gas explorer floated with an issue price of $0.25, opened at $0.23 and a closed at $0.22.
Gold is trading at $US1,255 an ounce. Light crude is $1.07 down at $US97.44 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9027.