Market Wrap: ASX lower after ex-dividends drag

Market Reports

 
The sinking iron ore price and bigger companies such as CSL trading ex-dividend today have dampened enthusiasm in the share market with the ASX dipping 0.39 per cent 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 22 points down to finish at 5,577. 
 
The value of trades was $3.37 billion on volume of 496 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
 
On the futures market the SPI is 20 points down.
 
Economic news

ANZ job advertisements for August are up 1.5 per cent suggesting a gradual improvement in the labour market. It’s the third consecutive month employment ads have risen. Job ads have increased by 8 per cent since January.
 
Company news

Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) has entered into an agreement for exclusive exploration rights to the West Angelas Project Tenements currently owned by Chrysalis Resources Limited (ASX:CYS). Fortescue has agreed to pay Chrysalis a total of $300,000 over the next two years with an option to purchase the tenements. Fortescue will manage exploration of the enterprise and has agreed to pay Chrysalis a royalty if it goes ahead and buys the project. The deal allows Chrysalis some guaranteed cash flow to continue exploration of its copper gold projects in Zambia. Fortescue Metals closed 2.04 per cent up at $4.00. 
 
Mermaid Marine Australia Limited (ASS:MRM) has been awarded with a $105 million contract to manage a cruise vessel in Europe. The 12 month contract is for the operation and management of the ‘Silja Europa”, a 202m cruise ferry which has recently been modified to operate as a leisure cruiser between Finland and Estonia. The contract also has an option to extend. Shares in Mermaid Marine closed 1.82 per cent up at $2.24. 
 
Sigma Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX:SIP) has purchased Discount Drug Stores for $26.7 million, adding 121 pharmacies to its network. 
 
Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) subsidiary ALH Group is divesting itself of 54 hotel properties and retail liquor stores in a sale and leaseback with Charter Hall Group worth $603 million. 
 
New Zealand pay TV operator Sky Network Television Limited (ASX:SKT) has missed out on renewing the broadcast rights to the US, European and Asian PGA Golf Tournaments. 
 
And Goodman Fielder Limited (ASX:GFF) says its $1.3 billion takeover deal with Wilmar International and First Pacific has hit a snag with a predicted 3 month delay in approvals from China.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was telco services adding 0.2 per cent to close at 1,973. The worst performing sector was health care, losing 1.3 per cent to close at 15,214 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Resolute Mining, rising 9.28 per cent to close at $0.53. Shares in Transfield Services and Veda also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Drillsearch, dropping 7.53 per cent to close at $1.35. Shares in Senex Energy and Insurance Australia Group also closed lower. 
 
To commodities, Gold is trading at $US1,269 an ounce. Light crude is $1.16 down at $US93.29 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 93.67 US cents