Market Wrap: Aus shares pare losses to close flat

Market Reports

The Australian share market managed to pare some of its early losses today, the late rally pushed the local bourse higher but only managed to close flat over the day.
 
The iron ore miners had another tough day today as the price of the steel making commodity continued its slide south. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 2 points down to finish at 5,518. 
 
The value of trades was $470 billion on volume of 712 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ).
 
On the futures market the SPI is 5 points down.
 
Company news
 
CSR Limited (ASX:CSR) has jumped to one of the day’s best performers as it improved its interim profit more than expected on the back of higher earnings across all its businesses. Excluding significant items, the building products group’s net profit climbed 48 per cent to $68.4 million in the six months to the end of September. Managing Director Rob Sindel says the company is very pleased the result which reflects the benefits of restructuring initiatives over the past few years. Shares in CSR closed 2.86 per cent up at $3.60. 
 
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) has finished the day as the strongest of the big banks on news it increased its first quarter cash profit by more than expected in the three months to the end of September.  Australia’s biggest bank posted a first quarter cash profit of $2.3 billion, up from expectations of $2.2 billion and up from last year’s result of $2.1 billion. The bank’s first quarter net profit came in at $2.4 billion, putting it on track to deliver another record annual result. Shares in Commonwealth Bank closed 0.98 per cent up at $81.56
 
Scentre Group Limited (ASX:SCG) has posted 4.2 per cent growth in specialty sales over the third quarter. 
 
Downer EDI Limited (ASX:DOW) has boosted its profit guidance for the full 2015 financial year. 
 
IT services company SAI Global Limited (ASX:SAI) has appointed Peter Mullins as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director.
 
Beach Energy Limited (ASX:BPT) has offered a progress report from drilling in October with 13 wells completed at a success rate of 92 per cent.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was consumer staples adding 0.9 per cent to close at 9,865. The worst performing sector was energy, losing 1.8 per cent to close at 13,383 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Orora Limited (ASX:ORA), rising 3.15 per cent to close at $1.80. Shares in CSR Limited (ASX:CSR) and Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO), dropping 8.47 per cent to close at $0.27. Shares in BC Iron Limited (ASX:BCI) and Sundance Energy Australia Limited (ASX:SEA) also closed lower.
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,163 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.59 down at $US77.19 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8739