In a day dominated by the fallout from last night’s budget Australian markets have traded flat hovering below yesterday’s close to finish the day 0.03 per cent down.
The bourse was lifted by Commonwealth Bank as its shares hit a record high today on the news its March quarter cash earnings were up by 16 per cent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 2 points down to finish at 5,497.
The value of trades was $4.16 billion on volume of 624 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
, National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB)
and Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG)
On the futures market the SPI is 23 points up.
Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS)
has finalized the sale of its Hong Kong based mobiles business CSL to HKT Limited for a profit of $561 million. The sale proceeds, for Australia’s largest telco, equates to $US1.99 billion after initial adjustments. While the company’s announcement made no indication of how proceeds for the sale would be spent there is mounting speculation on potential plans. Shares in Telstra closed 0.57 per cent up at $5.28
Shares in Asia Pacific Digital Limited (ASX:DIG)
have jumped by 23.53 per cent on completion of an oversubscribed placement that raised $4.1 million. The digital services company secured the funds from institutional investors and from within the 15 per cent issuance capacity. Shares in Asia Pacific Digital closed at $0.02
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
has boosted its unaudited third-quarter cash earnings by 16 per cent. Australia’s biggest bank reported cash earnings of $2.2 billion in the first three months of this year, rising from $1.9 billion the year before.
The building products group CSR Limited (ASX:CSR)
has rebounded to an annual profit of $88.1 million in the year to the end of March 2014 from a net loss of $150 million recorded the year before.
Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
says it has achieved landmark Pilbara iron ore operational performance ahead of schedule. Its Pilbara iron ore system of mines, rail and ports have reached a run rate of 290 million tonnes per year two months ahead of schedule.
AMP Limited’s (ASX:AMP)
AMP Capital Investors Head of Investment Strategy and Chief Economist, Dr Shane Oliver believes the fiscal austerity in the Budget is only a minor headwind for profits and says the budget’s overall impact is unlikely to be huge.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was real estate investment trusts adding 8 points to close at 1,061.The worst performing sector was utilities, losing 57 points to close at 5,885 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Transfield Services Limited (ASX:TSE)
, rising 11.16 per cent to close at $1.20. Shares in Pacific Brands Limited (ASX:PBG)
and Cover-More Group Limited (ASX:CVO)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Primary Health Care Limited (ASX:PRY)
, dropping 5.03 per cent to close at $4.53. Shares in CSR Limited (ASX:CSR)
and Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN)
also closed lower.
Gold is buying $US1,294 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.11 up at $US101.70 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9401