Market Wrap: Aus shares continue slide south

Market Reports

The Australian share market spent the day in the red with losses accelerating after lunch to finish 0.6 per cent lower. With a further slump in the iron ore price the mid tier ore miner’s saw major losses.
 
The Aussie dollar also moved lower against the greenback with RBA rhetoric and turbulence out of Canberra helping push the Aussie down to $US0.8662.
 
The Westpac Melbourne Institute offered some optimism with a positive view on growth suggesting it would push above 3 per cent mid next year.
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 31 points down to finish at 5,369.
 
The value of trades was $4.18 billion on volume of 700 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB).
 
On the futures marketthe SPI is 39 points down.
 
Company news
 
James Hardie Industries plc (ASX:JHX) has pushed to one of the day’s best performers as it reported a strong improvement in the second quarter. In the three months to the end of September the company’s net operating profit soared 145 per cent to $US127.2 million on the back of higher volumes and average net sales prices. However, the building materials manufacturer’s net operating profit dropped 20 per cent to $US156.1million in the six months to the end of September. James Hardie closed 4.33 per cent up at $12.52 
 
Meanwhile Orica Limited (ASX:ORI) slipped despite having improved its annual profit. The provider of commercial explosives and blasting systems lifted its net profit by 2 per cent to $602.5 million in the full year to the end of September. The company also announced up to 700 job cuts and the sale of its non-mining chemicals division. Shares in Orica closed 4.05 per cent down at $18.47. 
 
Australian Agricultural Company Limited (ASX:AAC) has trimmed its first half loss and flagged strong beef sales ahead.
 
Amcom Telecommunications Limited (ASX:AMM) has won a $6.5 million four year contract from the Northern Territory government.
 
Mint Wireless Limited (ASX:MNW) will partner with Beyond Bank Australia to supply its mobile payments system in a three year deal.
 
Strata-X Energy Ltd (ASX:SXA)(TSX.V:SXE) will begin drilling in the Illinois basin early next month.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was utilities adding 0.2 per cent to close at 5,989. The worst performing sector was consumer staples, losing 1.7 per cent to close at 9,532 points.
 
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 wasNorthern Star Resources Limited (ASX:NST), rising 6.47 per cent to close at $1.24. Shares in Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML) and James Hardie Industries (ASX:JHX) also closed higher.
 
The worst performing stock was BC Iron Limited (ASX:BCI), dropping 12.21 per cent to close at $0.58. Shares in Seven Group Holdings Limited (ASX:SVW) and Ainsworth Game Technology Limited (ASX:AGI) also closed lower.
 
IPO 

IPH Limited (ASX:IPH) started trading today. The intellectual property services company listed with an issue price of $2.10, opened at $3.14 and a closed at $3.10.
 
Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,194 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.03 down at $US74.61 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8662