EVENING REPORT (5pm AEDT)
The Australian share market started the trading week firmly in the red today, following a sharp fall in the iron ore price which weighed on mining stocks. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) closed down 46.2 points or 0.8 per cent to 5430.8 after rising 1.1 per cent over the course of last week.
Iron ore slid by US$2.70 or 2.4 per cent on Friday to close at US$114.20 a dry tonne. The Dalian iron ore futures contract in China was down almost 6 per cent to $131 / dry tonne in late Asian trade. Shares in iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) closed down 9.4 per cent to $4.92 today while BHP Billiton (BHP) was lower by 4 per cent to $36.16 and Rio Tinto (RIO) shed 5.8 per cent to $61.20.
Heading the other way was construction firm Leighton Holdings (LEI). Shares soared by 11.4 per cent to $23.09 after German company Hochtief Holdings moved to boost its stake in the company to almost 75 per cent and take control of the board. The $1.5 billion takeover bid values LEI at $22.15 cash per share, with Hochtief to acquire three of every eight shares held by LEI shareholders.
Lend Lease (LLC) was a beneficiary of the LEI moves, as traders bet that the company could reap more institutional interest if the Hochtief offer for LEI succeeds. LLC added 1.3 per cent to $11.66.
Overseas, shares in Malaysia Airlines fell 16 per cent on open in Kuala Lumpur and were down 8 per cent in the afternoon trade as Flight MH370 remains missing over waters between Malaysia and Vietnam.
On the market overall, a total of 1.8 billion shares changed hands, worth $4.8 billion. 408 were up, 548 were down and 329 were unchanged.
At 4.30pm AEDT the SFE 200 Futures Index was at 5419, down 53 points.
The Australian dollar ended the day's session at US90.36c.
No major economic data is slated for release in the US tonight.
rom IBT Markets:
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