Market Wrap: ASX fails to regain early losses

Market Reports

The Australian share market opened sharply lower and limped slighter higher through afternoon trade to end 0.28 per cent down at the close of trade. 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 16 points down to finish at 5,541. 
 
The value of trades was $2.47 billion on volume of 433 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 Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 15 points down. 
 
Economic news

Retail sales for June rose 0.6 per cent, rebounding from two months of flat sales. The ABS had attributed the downturn to warm weather and fears surrounding the Federal budget. Year on year retail turnover rose 5.3 per cent compared with June 2013. 
 
Consumer prices lifted 0.2 per cent in July which was lower than expected, slowing the annual pace of inflation to 2.6 per cent. 
 
And according to an ANZ survey, job ad lifted 0.3 per cent in July showing a moderate upswing in labour demand. 
 
Company news
 
Oil and gas producer Roc Oil Company Limited (ASX:ROC) says its directors have backed a takeover bid from the biggest private-owned conglomerate in Mainland China, Fosun International. Fosun has offered Roc 69 cents per share, representing a 52 per cent premium to the price of the company’s stock ahead of its proposed merger with Horizon Oil Limited (ASX:HZN). The offer has knocked the proposed zero premium merger with Horizon out of the water. Horizon has confirmed it has terminated its agreement with Roc. Roc Oil Chairman Mike Harding says the latest takeover offer is superior and the company’s directors unanimously recommend shareholders accept the offer. The deal is still subject to approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board and more than half of Roc’s shareholders accepting the offer. Shares in Roc Oil have lifted 7.14 per cent to $0.68.
 
Treasury Wine Estates Limited (ASX:TWE) has confirmed a new takeover bid from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and and Rhone Capital. The US-led consortium is offering Australia’s largest listed wine maker $5.20 per share, 50 cents more than the original offer of $4.70. Treasury Wine Estates rejected the first bid in May in favour of continuing with CEO Michael Clarke’s plans to improve company performance. However, following the latest offer Treasury Wine Estates has decided to engage with its suitors and open its books for due diligence. Shares in Treasury Wine Estates are trading 4.04 per cent higher at $5.15.

Crown Resorts Limited (ASX:CWN) will join with Andrew Pascal to develop a 35 acre casino resort site on Las Vegas Boulevard. 
 
Poseidon Nickel Limited (ASX:POS) says its acquisition of the Black Swan project has more than doubled its total resource base to 330,000 tonnes of nickel.
 
Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI) has selected John Holland as its preferred contractor for the Ravenhall Prison in Melbourne.
 
And Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) will give its fleet of Boeing 737-800 aircraft a multi-million dollar make-over within the next 12 months. 
 

Best and worst perfomers

The best performing sector was real estate investment trusts adding 0.4 per cent to close at 1,107. The worst performing sector was health, losing 0.8 per cent to close at 14,079 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Atlas Iron, rising 9.23 per cent to close at $0.71. Shares in Lynas Corporation and Arrium also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Horizon, dropping 6.76 per cent to close at $0.35 after its merger with Roc Oil was pulled. Shares in Ten Network and Mesoblast also closed lower. 
 
IPOs

Duketon Mining Limited (ASX:DKM) started trading today. The mining exploration company floated with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.24 and is closed at $0.27.    
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,294 an ounce. Light crude is $0.29 down at $US97.88 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 93.15 US cents.