EVENING REPORT (5pm AEST)
The Australian share market closed lower for a second consecutive session on Wednesday, taking weekly losses so far to 0.4 per cent. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) closed lower by 17 points or 0.3 per cent to 5363.9 points.
Energy stocks were the worst performing, with the sector shedding almost two per cent. Global oil prices were mixed on Tuesday however it was the share placement of Woodside Petroleum at a discount which weighed on the sector. WPL was halted yesterday as Royal Dutch Shell sold down a 9.5 per cent stake in Australia's largest listed oil and gas producer. Shares were offered at a discount to Monday's closing price of $41.35 and today fell 4.6 per cent to $40.90.
David Jones (DJS) was in focus as it was confirmed Solomon Lew's company has purchased 53 million shares in the retailer for a cost of around $200 million. There is market speculation Mr Lew could increase his stake further, ahead of a planned shareholder vote on June 30, in which stakeholders will decide on a $2.2 billion takeover from South Africa's Woolworths. DJS added 0.5 per cent today to $3.90. Myer Limited (MYR) was up 1.5 per cent to $2.05.
Banking stocks were also sold off while the iron ore players clawed back some lost ground, with Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) higher by 2 per cent to $4.02.
CommSec research has found that total returns on Australian shares (All Ordinaries Accumulation index) are currently up 17.3 per cent over 2013/14. If returns hold at these levels through to June 30 then investors will have experienced the best back-to back returns in seven years.
2.3 billion shares changed hands today, worth $8.99 billion. 490 shares were higher, 481 were lower and 428 were unchanged.
At 4.30pm AEST the SFE 200 Futures Index was at 5382, down 16 points.
The Australian dollar was fairly steady, closing at US93.36c.
Ahead tonight, the US Federal Reserve makes its monetary policy decision. Weekly mortgage data and the current account figures for the March quarter are also released in the US.
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