EVENING REPORT (5pm AEST)
The Australian share market started the trading week heavily in the red, falling 1.3 per cent on the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) as fears of a burst in China's property bubble impacted mining players and investor sentiment.
The All Ordinaries Index closed at its lows of the day, down almost 69 points to 5930.3 points.
The iron ore price fell US$2 a dry tonne to US$100.70 over the course of last week and there are fears it could drop below US$100/tonne on continued concerns of market oversupply. The pace of home growth in China also slowed in the 12 months to April. BHP Billiton (BHP) shares were down almost 2 per cent today, while Australia's largest producer of iron ore, Rio Tinto (RIO) dropped 3 per cent to $60.10. Shares in Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), Australia's third largest iron ore producer, were lower by 4.6 per cent to $4.37.
Shares in troubled heavy engineering company Bradken (BKN) fell almost 8 per cent today to $3.62. The company is hoping to reduce its operating costs by $27 million a year by reorganising its manufacturing operations and shedding 10 per cent of its workforce. BKN reported an 18 per cent fall in 1H profit in February to $38.1 million.
Gaming company Tabcorp (TAH) closed down 2.6 per cent to $3.41. The company fears potential changes to race fields fees by Racing Victoria could eat into its profits.
Heading the other way, agribusiness Elders (ELD) rose 8.7 per cent to 12.5c after narrowing its 1H loss to $10.2 million. No interim dividend will be paid to shareholders.
Paint maker DuluxGroup (DLX) rose 0.5 per cent to $5.76 after increasing its 1H profit by 33.6 per cent to $56 million. Shareholders will receive an interim dividend of 10 cents per share.
For more company and offshore news please read the Morning and Mid-Session reports.
According to the Australian Institute of Petroleum, the national average Australian price of petrol fell by 5.7 cents per litre to 150.2 cents a litre in the week to May 18. Petrol prices are near the low point in the discounting cycle and are likely to ratchet higher over the next couple of days.
On the market overall, a total of 1.7 billion shares changed hands, worth $4.3 billion. 327 were up, 590 were lower and 383 unchanged.
No major data is due for release in the US tonight.
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