Market Wrap: ASX lower and rates on hold

Market Reports

After a brief push into the green this morning the Australian share market headed lower to close 0.4 per cent down. 
 
Meanwhile the RBA has left interest rates unchanged at 2.5 per cent this afternoon in line with expectations. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 22 points down to finish at 5,519. 
 
The value of trades was $4.29 billion on volume of 662 million 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 Crown Resorts Limited (ASX:CWN)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 15 points down.
 
Economic news
 
The Reserve Bank has decided to keep its cash rate at an historical low of 2.5 per cent in its August meeting and affirmed its neutral bias. The move was largely anticipated by analysts with a broad view that rates won’t rise until 2015. RBA governor Glenn Stevens says the most prudent course is likely to be a period of stability in interest rates.
 
Company news
 
Horizon Oil Limited (ASX:HZN) has terminated its merger implementation deed with Roc Oil. The oil producer says that with yesterday’s announcement of the Roc Oil board’s recommending a takeover offer from Chinese company Fosun International, it will be terminating the deed. Horizon closed 1.45 per cent down at $0.34
 
Transurban Group (ASX:TCL) has reported an annual profit lift on the back of its network enhancing projects and expansion initiatives.  The toll road owner and operator boosted its net profit by 44.5 per cent to $252.2 million in the 2014 financial year. CEO Scott Charlton has described the performance as strong and says Transurban delivered margin improvement on six of its seven operating assets. Shares in Transurban closed 0.92 per cent down at $7.58 
 
Downer EDI Limited (ASX:DOW) has reported a slight rise in its full year profit but flagged challenging conditions ahead. 
 
Cochlear Limited (ASX:COH) has reported a lower profit but higher sales following new product releases in the 2014 financial year. 
 
Steadfast Group Limited (ASX:SDF) is continuing to ramp up its acquisition spree through the purchase of a stake in a reinsurance broking business. 
 
Diversified mining group Metals X Limited (ASX:MLX) has inked a mining and profit share deal with Southern Gold Limited (ASX:SAU).
 
Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was health care adding 1.2 per cent to close at 14,242. The worst performing sector was consumer discretionary, losing 0.9 per cent to close at 1,804 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Cochlear Limited (ASX:COH), rising 10.33 per cent to close at $69.00. Shares in Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC) and Japara Healthcare Limited (ASX:JHC) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML), dropping 14.89 per cent to close at $1.31. Shares in Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO) and Beadell Resources Limited (ASX:BDR) also closed lower.

IPO

Bellamy’s Australia Limited (ASX:BAL) started trading today. The baby food maker floated with an issue price of $1.00, opened at $1.31 and closed at $1.30.
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,292 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.41 up at $US68.29 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9337.