Market Wrap: ASX dips lower in muted trade

Market Reports


The Australian share market drifted within a narrow range for most of the day today ending 0.14 per cent down despite a surprise jump in business confidence for June. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 8 points down to finish at 5,511. 
 
The value of trades was $3.3 billion on volume of 612 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ).
 
On the futures market the SPI is 8 points down.
 
Economic news

The NAB measure of business conditions reports a surprise lift in June showing business confidence has not suffered the same ill effects of the ‘tough budget’ as consumer confidence. Whilst conditions were still somewhat muted, most industries showed better outcomes with a surge in construction. Wholesale and transport were mixed with forward orders remaining unchanged. 
 
Company news
 
Aristocrat Technologies Limited (ASX:ALL) says it has successfully raised $375 million of the $1.4 billion required to fund the acquisition of US based Video Gaming Technologies. The institutional placement was oversubscribed at $5.26 per share which is a 2.4 per cent discount to Aristocrat’s closing price on Friday. The poker machine manufacturer is also offering a share purchase plan for its Australian and New Zealand investors and will also conduct a placement offering to Ainsworth family shareholders. These two offers will be capped at $60 million. Aristocrat CFO Toni Korsanos says the level of support for the capital raising is an important vote of confidence from shareholders globally. Shares in Aristocrat have slipped 1.67 per cent to $5.30.
 
G8 Education Limited (ASX:GEM) is accelerating its acquisition strategy through the purchase of more centres for $25.7 million. The provider of developmental and educational child care services has inked deals to buy 19 premium centres from different vendors. Subject to approvals the company expects to settle the acquisitions before the end of October and will fund the purchase through existing cash reserves. 
G8 says the transaction will boost the number of places by 1,213 and takes the total number of places in its Australian portfolio to 29,703 per day. 
G8 Education shares have added 0.87 per cent to close at $4.64.  
 
Calibre Group Limited (ASX:CGH) has further expanded into Western Australia with the $3.3 million purchase of a WA resource focused maintenance services firm. 
 
Independence Group NL (ASX:IGO) says it has surpassed its production forecast for nickel, zinc and copper output in Western Australia has beaten guidance for the 2014 financial year.
 
Shares in specialised pharmaceutical company Pharmaxis Limited (ASX:PXS) have tumbled today after the company said a $21 million payment from its financier was at risk from a potential breach of the funding agreement.
 
And the board shuffle at UGL has continued, only weeks after appointing a new CEO UGL Limited (ASX:UGL) has announced its chairman will retire following the company’s annual general meeting. 
 
Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was health adding 0.8 per cent to close at 14,452. The worst performing sector was energy, losing 0.4 per cent to close at 14,476 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was NRW Holdings, rising 4.17 per cent to close at $1.00. Shares in CSR lifted on good growth in the construction sector and Southern Cross Media also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Ten Network, dropping 3.51 per cent to close at $0.28. Shares in Resolute Mining and Arrium also closed lower. 
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,319 an ounce. Light crude is $0.53 lower at $US103.53 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 93.92 US cents. 

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