After reaching a 2012 high yesterday, the local share market
pulled back a little today, following falls in offshore markets
and due to a lack of guidance in the form of economic data. The
All Ordinaries Index (XAO) closed down 9.5pts or 0.2pct to 4422
while the S&P/ASX 200 Index (XJO) lost 5.6pts or 0.1pct to
Energy stocks were among the biggest drags, after the
of benchmark crude oil eased overnight in response to a firmer US
dollar and higher US oil inventories. After holding near US$107 a
barrel all week, the Nymex contract dipped 2pct to US$105. Shares
in Caltex (CTX) eased by 1.5pct on our market to $13.86 while
) was off 2.1pct to $6.91.
Construction giant Leighton Holdings (
) was one of the worst performers, dropping almost 7pct after
coming out of a trading halt and warning of a fall in profits.
LEI has cut its profit forecasts by nearly a third due to further
losses from the Brisbane Airport Link and Victorian desalination
words. LEI now expects underlying profit for calendar 2012 to
come in between $400 to $450 million, down from $600 to $650
million as previously forecast. LEI lost $1.59 to close at
Shares in toll roads business Transurban (
) fell 0.9pct to $5.62 despite confirming its distribution
guidance. Transurban, which owns Melbourne´s CityLink, and
Sydney´s M2 and Lane
Cove Tunnel, told the market it is experiencing a difficult
operating environment but still expects to pay investors "at
least 29 cents per security" in the 2011/12 financial year.
Official statistics released today showed the number of job
vacancies in Australia rose by 0.7pct in February. The total
number of vacancies in February 2012 was 182,200 in seasonally
adjusted terms, compared with 180,900 in the previous quarterly
survey in November. CommSec Chief Economist Craig James said of
the data "The latest data confirms that the job market has paused
for breath. Employers aren't keen on
until consumers start spending again."
The Australian dollar eased once again against the greenback
and at 4.30pm AEDT was
US103.59c, £0.651 and €77.78c.
On the market overall, a total of 2.31 billion shares were
traded, worth $5.16 billion. 451 were up, 573 were down and 371
At 4.30pm AEDT on the ASX24, the share price index was at
4339, down 16pts.
Ahead tonight weekly jobless claims data is released in the US
along with revised GDP figures.
Juliette Saly, CommSec Market Analyst
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