The Australian share market has closed lower, with most sectors in the red as investors reacted negatively to a mixed bag of company earnings reports.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index ended down 0.37 per cent at 5,725.9 points on a day marked by a surge in iron ore miner Fortescue Metals and a plunge in steelmaker BlueScope.
ASR Wealth Advisers client adviser Gary Huxtable said the local bourse on Monday reflected investors’ generally negative reaction to company earnings reports so far.
“The market’s extremely hard to please at the moment,” Mr Huxtable said.
“The asymmetry has been on the downside through reporting season so far.”
BlueScope Steel slid $3.08 , or 21.8 per cent, to $11.03 despite its full-year profit more than doubling, after the company offered a rare cloudy outlook on the back of rising costs.
Fortescue Metals gained 35 cents, or 6.4 per cent, to $5.85 after it flagged it will sustain higher payouts for shareholders as a rebound in iron prices and lower costs helped it more than double full-year profit.
Mr Huxtable said Fortescue lifted on the strength of its results, the potential for higher dividends, and a stronger iron ore price.
On the other hand, BlueScope missed market expectations and was slammed.
Among the other major miners, BHP Billiton added 1.2 per cent to $25.70 a day ahead of posting its full-year results, and Rio Tinto gained 1.5 per cent to $64.15.
Among other stocks, Brambles fell 13 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $9.63 after the logistics firm’s full-year profit slid 69 per cent, weighed down by challenging operating conditions in the US pallets division and a writedown of its North America recycled pallets business.
Health insurer nib dropped 20 cents, or 3.3 per cent, to $5.85.
nib expects earnings growth in the 2017/18 financial year to ease as margins within the company’s Australian health insurance business contract and the company invests in new ventures and technology.
Australia’s fourth-biggest telecommunications company, Vocus, retreated 14.6 per cent to $2.75 after it announced a $2.2 billion bidding war for the company was over, with the two private equity suitors unable to support the buy on the board’s terms.
The major banks were mixed, with ANZ flat at $30.01 and Westpac a cent higher at $32.22 but Commonwealth Bank down 0.9 per cent to $78.41, and National Australia Bank off 0.4 per cent at $30.73.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar is higher against the US dollar, trading at 79.2 US cents at 1700 AEST on Monday, from 78.96 US cents on Friday.
The greenback dipped as traders became nervous over US President Donald Trump’s ability to press his economic agenda following the departure of chief strategist, Steve Bannon, from his administration.
Read the full article: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-23/results-iag-worley-parsons-vocus-apa/8834138