Market Wrap: ASX ends lower, Healthscope debut

Market Reports

The Australian share market dipped at the open, regained losses and then ended 0.11 per cent down in a late slide as reporting season got underway. Healthscope’s $2.26 billion debut today featured as the biggest stock market float in 4 years. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 6 points down to finish at 5,577. 
 
The value of trades was $3.16 billion on volume of 573 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Healthscope Limited and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 2 points down.
 
Company news

Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX:CUV) said today they have received an unsolicited takeover offer from drug company Retrophin which values the Clinuvel at $95 million. Nasdaq-listed Retrophin has offered either 0.175 Retrophin shares for each Clinuvel share, or $2.17 in cash per share in a complete takeover. Retrophin has recently acquired a 4.88 per cent stake in its target. Clinuvel is in the final stages of a European approval process for its SCENESSE treatment for a painful skin condition. The drug developer is also undertaking clinical trials for the use of its trademarked SCENESSE treatment in other rare skin diseases. Shareholders have been advised to take no action. 
Shares in Clinuvel have skyrocketed 29.38 per cent to $2.18.
 
Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI) has confirmed its full year underlying net profit guidance despite reporting a 20 per cent drop in its first half earnings.  The construction company booked a net profit of $291 million, down from $366 million reported the year before, but higher than market expectations of $271. million. However, underlying profit grew 25 per cent to $319 million in the half year and Leighton Holdings says it’s on track to generate a full year underlying result between $540 million and $620 million. CEO Marcelino Fernandez Verdes says the company is already seeing the positive impact of the federal government's infrastructure initiatives. Looking ahead Mr Verdes says Leighton has under preparation the largest pipeline of $1 billion-plus tenders in the company’s history. Shares in Leighton shed 2.43 per cent to $22.10
 
Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (ASX:LNG) has struck a deal to buy the Bear Head LNG Project in Nova Scotia, Canada for $12 million.
 
Navitas Limited (ASX:NVT) reported a 31 per cent fall in full year profit but a 20 per cent rise in revenue and forecast earnings growth in the year ahead. 
 
Shares in Mermaid Marine Australia Limited (ASX:MRM) moved lower after the company advised some of its workers intend to take industrial action by engaging in 10 consecutive, 24 hour work stoppages in a bid to gain better pay, security and flexibility. 
 
And Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR) has announced it will acquire Newcrest’s remaining 15 per cent interest in the Mount Monger joint venture taking its ownership to 100 per cent. 
 

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was materials adding 0.3 per cent to close at 10,427. The worst performing sector was telco services, losing 0.4 per cent to close at 1,888 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was GUD Holdings, rising 9.85 per cent to close at $7.25. Shares in Lynas Corporation and Paladin Energy also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Navitas, dropping 3.68 per cent to close at $4.98. Shares in Japara Healthcare and Mermaid Marine also closed lower. 
 
IPOs

Healthscope Limited (ASX:HSO) started trading today. The private hospital operator listed with an issue price of $2.10, opened at $2.10 and a closed at $2.21 up 5.24 per cent.     
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,305 an ounce. Light crude is $0.02 up at $US102.09 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 93.90 US cents