Australian Stock Market Report – Afternoon 5/12/14

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By Juliette Saly, CommSec Market Analyst | May 12, 2014 5:42 PM EST

EVENING REPORT
(4.40pm AEST)

The Australian share market started the trading week in the red, despite another record high on the US Dow Jones Index on Friday. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) closed lower by 13 points or 0.2 per cent to 5429 with mining and energy players the biggest drag.

Last week iron ore fell more than three percent while base metals prices were mixed in London trade on Friday. Tugboat workers in Port Hedland, WA are threatening to strike which could impact iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) as it needs to run at full capacity to meet its full year guidance. FMG shares closed lower by almost two per cent today to $4.72.

Fertiliser maker Incitec Pivot (IPL) shares bucked the downward trend, rising 1.1 per cent to $2.85 after increasing its 1H net profit by 7 per cent to $115.7 million. Revenue was higher by 6 per cent to $1.51 billion and shares holders will receive an increased interim dividend of 3.5 cents per share.

Childcare centre operator G8 Education (GEM) was another standout performer, up 5.9 per cent to $4.47 after collecting $150 million though an oversubscribed debt raising to fund the purchase of more centres.

Leighton Holdings (LEI) shares closed lower by 1.3 per cent to $19.80. A senior executive at LEI's Thiess subsidiary in India was arrested on Friday in relation to civil arbitration proceedings in Singapore. 

For more company news, read the Mid-Session report.

In economic news, the NAB business confidence index rose from +4.4 points to +5.8 points in April. The business conditions index eased from +0.6 points to +0.3 points. The survey was conducted from April 24-30.

The average credit card balance fell by $38.20 (1.2 per cent) to $3,168.0 in March. The average credit card balance was 2.7 per cent below a year ago.

A total of 1.5 billion shares changed hands today, worth $3.2 billion.

Ahead tonight, the monthly Federal Budget figures are released in the US.

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