The Australian share market closed 0.16 per cent lower after early gains in the miners were wiped out by a plunge in the banks however afternoon trade allowed for a subdued recovery.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 9 points down to finish at 5,284.
The value of trades was $5.59 billion on volume of 822 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO)
BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP)
and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA)
On the futures market the SPI is 13 points down.
As expected, the RBA left interest rates on hold at 2.5 per cent. The central bank has softened its stance on the high Aussie dollar saying its recent decline against the green back was noted. The RBA also made note of the uptick in lending to housing investors.
And construction is expanding at its fastest rate in nine years led by activity in the residential building sector. The AIG/HIA Performance of Construction Index jumped 4.1 points to 59.1 points in September.
Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO, LON:RIO) has rejected market speculation it was considering a merger with Swiss based mining giant Glencore PLC (LON:GLEN) . The revelations come after reports surfaced claiming Glencore had recently approached Rio Tinto’s largest shareholder Chinalco to gauge its interest in a possible deal. Rio says it was contacted regarding a potential merger in July but its board unanimously concluded a Glencore merger would not be in the best interests of Rio shareholders. After informing Glencore of the decision in August Rio Tinto says there has been no further contact between the companies on the matter. The miner has affirmed its focus on the successful execution of its strategy to increase free cash flows significantly and materially increase shareholder returns.
Shares in Rio Tinto closed 4.31 per cent higher at $60.07.
Federation Centres Limited (ASX:FDC)
today announced it has expanded its property portfolio in two states with some strategic partnerships. FDC will participate in the $417 million purchase of the Mt Ommaney Centre, a regional shopping centre in Brisbane with a 25 per cent stake. FDC has also entered into an unconditional, off-market agreement with a private investor to buy a 50 per cent stake of Bentons Square shopping centre in Victoria. FDC has also entered a 50/50 co-ownership arrangement with a superannuation fund for the Brandon Park Centre in Victoria along with the purchase of the remaining external units associated with the site from Retail Direct Property 6 as part of a pre-existing partnership.
Shares in Federation Centres are flat at $2.59.
GI Dynamics Incorporated (ASX:GID)
lost ground after admitting that commercial shipments of its Endobarrier product in the European Union have been suspended pending a review of its vigilance and reporting systems.
New Standard Energy Limited (ASX:NSE)
has resumed 100 per cent control of its exploration acreage in Western Australia’s Canning Basin after poor drilling results spooked joint venture partner ConocoPhillips.
Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM)
says it remains on track to meet its full year output forecast.
And Oil and gas producer Santos Limited (ASX:STO)
is among seven mining and energy companies the Australian National University (ANU) has decided to sell because of its social responsibility policy.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was materials adding 1.4 per cent to close at 9,164. The worst performing sector was consumer discretionary, losing 1 per cent to close at 1,743 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Evolution Mining, rising 8.27 per cent to close at $0.72. Shares in Northern Star Resources and Medusa Mining also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Premier Investments, dropping 5.3 per cent to close at $9.47. Shares in Liquified Natural Gas and Pacific Brands also closed lower.
Regis Healthcare Limited (ASX:REG)
enjoyed a positive debut today. The aged care provider listed with an issue price of $3.65, opened at $3.85 and a closed at $4.02
Rewardle Holdings Limited (ASX:RXH)
also hit the trading floor today. The digital customer engagement provider listed with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.21 and closed at $0.28.
Gold is trading at $US1,208 an ounce. Light crude is $0.60 up at $US90.34 a barrel. The Australian dollar is buying 87.72 US cents.