EVENING REPORT (4.50pm AEST)
The Australian share market was sold off today, as data revealed Australian consumers have the winter blues and following a lacklustre offshore lead. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) closed down 16 points or 0.3 per cent to 5432.5 points.
Mining and energy players helped keep the market in negative territory while the industrial sector was the worst performing, losing 1.5 per cent.
Consumer confidence figures for June were released today, and while they showed a slight rebound from the sharp fall in sentiment witnessed in May following the release of the Federal Budget, the index remains below the 100 point level separating expansion from contraction. The Westpac/Melbourne Institute index of consumer confidence rose by 0.2 per cent in June to 93.2 after falling by 6.8 per cent in May. A reading of 100 is the dividing line separating optimism from pessimism. The survey was conducted between June 2 and June 8.
Retail stocks were mostly lower following the consumer confidence numbers and in the wake of a number of recent profit downgrades from retailers such as Noni B (NBL), Pacific Brands (PBG) and The Reject Shop (TRS). NBL closed down 8.4 per cent to 49c while TRS and PBG which were heavily sold off yesterday clawed back some ground. Myer (MYR) finished down 1.5 per cent to $2.00 and David Jones (DJS) was up 1.3 per cent to $3.90.
Flight Centre (FLT) has also blamed a downturn in consumer sentiment for a profit downgrade. The travel agent today announced it's now expecting FY14 pre-tax profit to come in between $370-380 million, at the lower end of its guidance. Travel sales in Australia have been slumping since April while the company's US operations have improved, driven by a pick-up in corporate travel bookings.
On the market overall, 1.6 billion shares changed hands with a total of $3.9 billion. 426 were higher, 531 were lower and 425 were unchanged.
The Aussie dollar was higher on the close at US93.83c.
Ahead tonight, the monthly Federal Budget and weekly mortgage data are released in the US.
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