The Australian share market has lost ground today sinking 0.52 percent. A rebound in the miners after a 4 per cent gain in the iron ore price was unable to offset profit taking on the big four banks and Telstra.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 28 points down to finish at 5,445.
The value of trades was $5.14 billion on volume of 772 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 Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
On the futures market the SPI is 33 points down.
The ANZ-Roy Morgan weekly report of consumer confidence dropped 1.8 per cent to 111.3, its lowest level in 5 weeks.
And the RBA seems to have house prices under the spotlight. In the September board meeting minutes released today, the Reserve Bank says it will monitor risks from rising property prices as the trend warranted ongoing close observation. The central bank observed the dollar ‘remained above most estimates of its fundamental value’. The RBA also warned that speculative demand in the property sector could increase the risk of a fall in house prices later.
Leighton Holding Limited (ASX:LEI)
says that subsidiary John Holland Construction has been awarded the contract to design and construct the new Ravenhall Prison in Melbourne. The deal is worth $650 million in revenue to John Holland. The project places John Holland in a consortium with GEO, Honeywell and Capella Capital and is expected to employ more than 700 people during the peak of construction. The construction phase is expected to get underway early next year and take just under two years to complete. Leighton Holdings closed 1.15 per cent down at $20.70.
AngloGold Ashanti Limited (ASX:AGG)
has dropped plans for a $2.5 billion demerger only one week after revealing the proposed initiatives. The gold producer had flagged potentially splitting its international assets into a new listed vehicle but came up with opposition from some shareholders. AngloGold Ashanti has noted broad support for the strategic logic of the restructuring, but also conceded some shareholders were concerned about achievability of the capital raising required. The company will instead look to extract value from its Colombian resource base. Shares in AngloGold Ashanti closed 7.64 per cent higher at $3.10.
Simavita Limited (ASX:SVA)
enjoyed a lift after revealing it has won a $278,000 contract in the US for its Smart Incontinence Management system.
UGL Limited (ASX:UGL)
, says it’s part of the winning consortium that will deliver Australia’s biggest public transport project, the $3.7 billion North West Rail Link in Sydney.
Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN)
disappointed after announcing a further shortfall in its production guidance for the September quarter.
And Yowie Group Limited (ASX:YOW)
has entered a trading halt ahead of announcing purchase order details from a Tier 1 retailer in the US.
Best and worst performers
The only positive sector today was materials adding 0.01 per cent to close at 9,744. The worst performing sector was telco services, losing 1.1 per cent to close at 1,900 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was BC Iron, rising 4.88 per cent to close at $2.15 after the iron ore price rose 4 per cent overnight. Shares in Atlas Iron and Qantas also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Skilled Group, dropping 8.02 per cent to close at $2.41. Shares in Lynas Corporation and Paladin Energy also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,235 an ounce. Light crude is $0.65 up at $US92.92 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 90.02 US cents.