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ASX Flat as Health Care Gains Offset Losses in Materials

ASX Flat as Health Care Gains Offset Losses in Materials
May 20, 2015 By Simon Herrmann

The ASX was down 5.2pts, or 0.09 per cent, at 5610.3pts on Wednesday. The Australian share market was significantly polarised on Wednesday, with some sectors swinging downward significantly while others jumped. The Materials and Metals and Mining sectors plummeted, falling 1.60 and 2.28 per cent respectively. Iron ore prices retreated from a month and a half of rallying, dragging the mining sector down with it. The Health Care sector helped to offset the significant losses in other sectors, rising 1.47 per cent. The ASX opened down and remained volatile in the first hour of trading, before plummeting around 11:00am. Over the next hour the ASX slowly recovered and remained relatively flat for the remainder of the day. The Australian dollar has retreated even further after passing the US$0.80 mark. The AUD is trading around US$0.7918 at 4:18pm AEDT.

International markets were mostly up in the previous day of trading. In the US, markets were mixed, with the Dow Jones up 0.07 per cent and the S&P 500 down 0.06 per cent. In Europe, the DAX jumped 2.23 per cent and the FTSE 100 was up 0.38 per cent. The Japanese market continues to push past the 20,000 point mark, after better than expected GDP growth figures were released. The Nikkei 225 is up 0.85 per cent near the end of trading on Wednesday. Chinese markets are mixed, with the Hang Seng down 0.17 per cent and the Shanghai Composite up 2.14 per cent so far on Wednesday.

Cardno Limited (ASX:CDD) was down 94c, or 27.33 per cent, at $2.50 per share. Cardo announced struggling operations in both the US and Australia, which cut into revenue. Due to the lacklustre performance, the company announced a $200m non-cash impairment charge.

Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) was down 28c, or 0.64 per cent, at $43.43 per share. Wesfarmers announced a plan to cut capital expenditures by $200m to $400m and reinvest the savings into its more successful businesses.

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) was down 15c, or 6.76 per cent, at $2.07 per share. Fortescue plummeted once again as the iron ore debate reignites. A recent report showed that Fortescue had accused Rio and BHP of increasing their supply of iron ore. The report showed that Fortescue had increased its supply whereas BHP and Rio had not.

BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) was down 81c, or 2.73 per cent, at $28.82 per share. The mining giant helped drag down the Metals and Mining sector on Wednesday. After partially recovering over the past month and a half, iron ore prices have slipped once again.

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Simon Herrmann Author: Simon Herrmann May 20, 2015

Simon is a financial analyst at independent research firm Wise-owl specialised in small-mid cap growth opportunities and ethical investment opportunities. Simon's aim is to disrupt the cliché approach to investment decision making as he believes that socially and environmentally responsible behaviour is a necessity to long-term wealth creation. Simon has a deep fundamental understanding of the global financial landscape and has compiled 300+ research reports, valuations and corporate appraisals. Simon is commonly featured in major media outlets and his research is published weekly in The Australian.

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