The Australian share market drifted 0.3% lower this afternoon with the major banks and CSL dragging down the broader market. Stocks retreated from early gains after stronger than expected jobs data dented hopes the Reserve Bank will cut interest rates again in the near future. Today it was a mixed bag over all, 8 out of the ten sectors were lower led by health care which fell 1.1 per cent. Buy now pay later Afterpay fell despite an upgrade from a major broker. Meantime Service Stream was the best performer after announcing a contract with Sydney Water.
The S&P/ASX200 index
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 18 points down to finish at 6,833.
Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 15 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 2 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a fall of 4 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 35 point fall for tomorrow morning.
Local economic news
The unemployment rate fell to 5.2 per cent in November from 5.3 per cent in October. The decline was driven by a strong increase in part-time employment and the biggest monthly lift in job creation in fifteen months. The latest reading was below market expectations of an unemployment rate of 5.3 per cent with the number of unemployed falling by 16800.
Village Roadshow (ASX:VRL) has received a takeover offer from Pacific Equity Partners (PEP) at a price of $3.90 per share, a 21.9 per cent premium to its Wednesday close. PEP has snapped up a 19 per cent stake in Village via its major shareholder Village Roadshow Corporation and has indicated it is willing to offer full cash consideration or a combination of cash and scrip. The non-binding, indicative proposal values Village at close to $1 billion. Shares in Village Roadshow closed 21.6 per cent higher at $3.89
Service Stream (ASX:SSM) was one of the best performers on the ASX today after subsidiary Comdain was awarded a ten-year contract with Sydney Water.
The ACCC has raised preliminary competition concerns about the proposed sale by Seven West (ASX:SWM) of Pacific Magazines to Bauer Media. The deal would combine Australia’s two biggest magazine publishers. The ACCC says if Bauer bought Pacific Magazines it would remove its closest competitor in certain segments. The ACCC’S preliminary view is that this would allow Bauer to reduce the effort put into content production and the range of content, or to increase prices.
Digital healthcare business Alcidion (ASX:ALC) has won a contract worth $500,000 over three years to provide patient assessment services to the UK's Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.
New Zealand pay TV company Sky Network Television (ASX:SKT) is set to snap up content streaming platform Lightbox from telco Spark New Zealand. A conditional sale and purchase agreement has been signed and completion of the deal is anticipated in the next few months, subject to commercial, legal and regulatory approvals as required. The cost of the deal has not been disclosed.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Utilities adding 0.5 per cent while the worst performing sector was Healthcare, shedding 1.1 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Service Stream, (ASX:SSM), closing 11.1 per cent higher to close at $2.71. Shares in Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) and Avita Medical (ASX:AVH) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Jumbo Interactive (ASX:JAN), dropping 5 per cent to close at $18.41. Shares in Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) and Appen (ASX:APX) followed lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.7 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has also lost 0.2 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,478 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 0.9 per cent lower at US$93.20.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.9 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.05 lower at US$60.80 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.80 US cents.