EVENING REPORT (5pm AEST)
The Australian share market closed lower for a third consecutive session today, with gains in mining players unable to help lift stocks into positive territory. The All Ordinaries Index (XAO) closed down 7.1 points or 0.1 per cent to 5419.7 points. Investors also elected to stay on the sidelines ahead of an interest rate decision by the European Central Bank later tonight.
The iron ore price rebounded on Wednesday, rising 2.2 per cent to close at US$94.60 a dry tonne. The gain saw shares in Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) rise 4.3 per cent while BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) also moved higher.
Losses from the big four banks stemmed the gains made in the materials sector, with the financial sector lower by 0.2 per cent.
In company news, Graincorp (GNC) announced a restructure which will see it revamp the way it stores and transports grain. The revamp could cost $200 million and see up to 80 jobs lost. GNC shares fell by 0.5 per cent to $8.45.
A strong debut for media monitoring company Isentia Group (ISD) which rose 19.1 per cent to $2.43. Shares had been offered at $2.04 in the float.
Lynas Corp (LYC) fell 6.1 per cent to 15.5c as the rare earths miner announced CEO Eric Noyrez was leaving the company after 14 months in the top job. Former Commander Communications boss Amanda Lacaze has taken over the top job.
In economic news, Australia's trade accounts moved back into the red in April, recording a deficit of $122 million. But the March trade surplus was revised up from $731 million to $902 million with the February surplus revised up from $1,257 million to $1,729 million.
On the market overall, a total of 1.8 billion shares changed hands, worth $4.5 billion. 433 were higher, 512 were lower and 434 unchanged.
Apart from the ECB meeting, the weekly data on claims for US unemployment insurance is released tonight along with the Challenger job layoff series.
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