EVENING REPORT (5pm AEST)
The Australian share market closed flat a day after Treasurer Joe Hockey delivered the Federal Budget. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) moved just 0.5 of a point higher to finish at 5475.9 points.
The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) shares hit a record high of $80.99 today after delivering a 16 per cent increase in 3Q cash profit to $2.2 billion. CBA closed at a record closing high of $80.89, up 1.2 per cent.
Westpac (WBC) and National Australia Bank (NAB) weighed on the banking sector, as both companies traded without rights to their dividends. WBC which will pay out a 90c per share dividend closed lower by 94c or 2.7 per cent to $34.20. NAB is paying eligible shareholders 99c per share, it closed down 90s or 2.6 per cent to $33.60.
Healthcare stocks came under pressure as investors digested what the Federal budget will mean for the industry. The $7 per visit co-payment for doctor visits could have a short-term impact on some companies involved in the industry, with patients potentially delaying visits to the GP due to the added cost. This is likely to be offset somewhat with just a $5 cut in the Medicare rebates doctors receive. Primary Health Care (PRY) closed lower by 5 per cent to $4.53 while Sonic Health Care (SHL) was down 4.3 per cent to $17.49.
Building products maker CSR Limited (CSR) fell 4.8 per cent to $3.34 despite a return to full year profit. A rise in housing construction saw the company post a FY profit of $88.1 million, up sharply from last year's $150 million loss. It's worth noting CSR shares are up 26 per cent so far this year. Shareholders will receive an unfranked final dividend of 5c per share, payable on the 8th July.
For more company news, please read the Mid-Session report.
No major economic data was released locally today, although the dollar rose following the Federal Budget. It hit a one month high if US94.1c during trade.
On the market overall, a total of 1.6 billion shares changed hands, worth $4.5 billion. 498 were up, 387 were down and 370 were unchanged.
At 4.30pm AEST the SFE 200 Futures Index was at 5511, up 24 points.
Ahead tonight, data on producer prices is released in the US together with weekly mortgage finance figures.
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