australian stocks close flat as investors remain cautious 1610332015

Markets await Greece’s fate, as talks stumble

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By :  ,  Financial Analyst

Australian stocks remained mostly unchanged Wednesday as investors chose to stay on the sidelines pending a resolution of the negotiations between Greece and its creditors, although early encouraging signs appeared to vanish as the talks were again marred by disagreement.

Most sectors showed a mixed performance, and the main indices rose in the initial hours of trading, only to enter into a correction phase in the last couple of hours.

Indices and sectors

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 2.5 points, or 0.0 per cent, and closed at 5,686.8, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 1.3 points, or 0.0 per cent, at 5,672.7.

The biggest gaining sectors were telecommunications services (+0.87 per cent), information technology (+0.61 per cent), financials (+0.29 per cent) and energy (+0.28 per cent). Losing sectors included consumer discretionary (-1.07 per cent), industrials (-0.5 per cent) and real estate investment trusts (-0.46 per cent).


Mining stocks ended up mixed. Though BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) shed 0.21 per cent to AU$28.55 and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) fell 1.19 per cent to AU$55.67, Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) was up 0.92 per cent to AU$2.20.

In energy, Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) gained 0.22 per cent to AU$36.03 and Santos Ltd (ASX:STO) moved up 0.48 per cent to AU$8.39. However, Origin Energy Ltd (ASX:ORG) was down 0.54 per cent to AU$12.85 and Oil Search Limited (ASX:OSH) remained unchanged at AU$7.50.

Amongst the banks, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) was up 0.50 per cent to AU$87.19, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) gained 0.63 per cent to AU$33.64 and National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX:NAB) rose 0.35 per cent to AU$34.52. Westpac Banking Corp (ASX:WBC), however, dipped 0.09 per cent to AU$33.67.

While Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX:WES), the owner of supermarket chain Coles, rose 0.07 per cent to AU$40.45, and Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) fell 0.56 per cent to AU$26.70, Caltex Australia Limited (ASX:CTX) was up 0.50 per cent to AU$33.85. Myer Holdings Ltd (ASX:MYR) remained unchanged at AU$1.34.

Economic news, currency and market outlook

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has taken the directors of Western Australian explorer Padbury Mining Ltd (ASX:PDY) to court for misleading investors when the company announced last April that it had secured funding to build a AU$6 billion port and rail network at Oakajee. However, it later turned out that the financing arrangements failed, causing a sharp fall in the company’s stock. According to ASIC, Padbury failed in its continuous disclosure obligations by not disclosing the identity of the financiers involved, reports ABC.

Sydney author and speechwriter Lucinda Holdforth threatened to “go guerilla” if airline Qantas continued to block the publication of her book titled Fighting Words, which details her tenure at the airline, and sheds light on the controversial grounding of its fleet in 2011. This was revealed in court documents, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. An interim injunction currently in force prevents the author from revealing any contents of her manuscript until July 6.

Stocks were broadly down on Wall Street Wednesday, driven by confusion regarding the likely outcome of the negotiations between Greece and its creditors. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 178 points, or 0.98 percent, to 17,966.07, the S&P 500 lost 15.62 points, or 0.74 percent, to 2,108.58 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 37.68 points, or 0.73 percent, to 5,122.41.

The Australian dollar is trading lower against the greenback as talks between Greece and its creditors appeared to stall overnight, according to the Business Spectator. At 07:00 this morning (AEST) the Aussie was trading at 77.04 US cents, down from 77.27 US cents on Wednesday.

The Australian stock market is likely to open lower today given that at 06:55 am (AEST) this morning the September ASX SPI200 Index (AP) Futures was down 13 points at 5,616, according to the Business Spectator.

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