The Australian share market has ended the session 0.5 per cent lower but the month of May slightly higher for the first time in five years. Despite positive US leads the local bourse flipped into the red at open and closed at the session low after a last minute sell-off. Weakness in the mining sector weighed as the price of iron ore headed for a record loosing run. Across the board all major sectors closed lower but the smaller tech sector defied the trend to end stronger.
The S&P/ASX 200 index lost 27 points today to close at 5,492.5 – slightly down over the week but 3.5 points higher over the month of May.
The value of trades was $6.63 billion on volume of 1.05 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 Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
On the futures market the SPI is 30 points lower.
After pausing on Monday for the Memorial Day public holiday US markets have advanced over the three trading days this week: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained 156 points. The S&P 500 Index has gained 28 points. The NASDAQ has gained 94 points. The 100 Index has gained 85 points.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has reported total credit rose 0.5 per cent in April. While personal credit came in steady, business credit gained 0.3 per cent and housing credit jumped 0.6 per cent, after a bounce of 0.5 per cent the month before. Housing loans also gained 6.1 per cent over the year to April, rising from 4.5 per cent growth the year before but remaining below the 2010 peak of 8.2 per cent.
Shares in Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC)
sank after exiting a trading halt and announcing the final results of its share purchase plan and placement. The rare earths producer raised $39.97 million through issuing new shares at 11.3 cents per new share to boost its working capital reserves as it ramps up production in Malaysia. Chairman Nick Curtis says Lynas is working with financiers to restructure its debt repayment obligations and will provide an update in the near term. Shares in Lynas Corporation sank 17.65 per cent to end the week at $0.14.
Takeover target David Jones Limited (ASX:DJS)
has revealed that the company that has Premier Investments chief Solomon Lew as a director has bought a 0.65 per cent stake in DJs. S L Nominees Pty Ltd has bought the interest in the department store who are currently the subject of a $2.15 billion takeover bid from South Africa’s Woolworths. Shares in David Jones gained 1.51 per cent to end the week at $4.04.
Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL)
has appointed the former CEO of Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI)
as its non-executive deputy chairman. Wal King will join the West Africa focused iron ore developer as the company moves into the next pivotal phase of financing and developing its flagship Mbalam-Nabeba Project. Shares in Sundance Resources advanced 9.52 per cent to end the week at $0.09.
Gas distributor Envestra Limited (ASX:ENV)
has backed a $2.37 billion takeover offer from the Cheung Kong consortium. The $1.32-cash-per-share offer trumps a bid from Envestra’s 33 per cent shareholder APA Group (ASX:APA)
who last year offered $1.17 per share. Shares in Envestra rose 1.11 per cent to end the week at $1.36.
Best and worst performers
The sector with the smallest losses was health care, losing 2.5 points to close at 14,682.
The worst performing sector was materials, losing 127 points to close at 9,863 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Resolute Mining Limited (ASX:RSG)
, rising 3.48 per cent to close at $0.59. Shares in Sirius Resources NL (ASX:SIR)
and Beadell Resources Limited (ASX:BDR)
also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC)
, retreating 17.65 per cent to close at $0.14. Shares in Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO)
and Mineral Resources Limited (ASX:MIN)
also closed lower.
The price of gold is buying $US1,257 an ounce, down $36.94 over the week.
Light crude is $0.86 higher at $US103.58 a barrel.
The Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is buying $0.9315, almost $US0.01 cent higher over the week.