The ASX was down 12.2pts, or 0.2 per cent, at 5713.1pts on Thursday. Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed capital expenditure falling at twice the predicted rate in March. After the release of the data, the Australian dollar fell significantly. However, the ASX partially reversed its downward trend after the data was released.
The Australian shares market initially started with a positive sentiment in the opening minutes of trading, but that sentiment quickly subsided as the ASX followed a steep downward trend until around noon. “The ASX failed to follow Wall St as miners and telcos dragged the market lower,” said Wise-owl equities analyst Simon Herrmann. “Whilst it doesn't seem that there was a particular reason, the ASX overall lacked enthusiasm today.”
After the ABS released the capital expenditure data, the market recovered slightly on speculation that an interest rate cut would become more likely. The ASX moved upward in the afternoon and peaked into positive territory briefly around 2pm. The market ultimately closed lower by the end of the day. The Telecommunications and Mining sectors led the selloff, falling 0.87 per cent and 0.76 per cent respectively. The Australian dollar dipped on news of lower capital expenditures in Australia, but has partially recovered to previous levels at US$0.7707 around 4:38pm AEDT.
International markets were mostly up in the previous day of trading. Tech stocks rallied in the US, bringing the NASDAQ to record levels on Wednesday. The Dow Jones was up 0.67 per cent and the S&P 500 was up 0.92 per cent. European markets jumped on speculation that Greece bailout talks had progressed. The DAX was up 1.26 per cent and the FTSE 100 was up 1.21 per cent.
The Tokyo Stock Exchange continues its strength with its 10th consecutive day of gains. The Nikkei 225 is up 0.39 per cent near the end of trading on Thursday. Chinese markets have fallen sharply. The Hang Seng is down 2.06 per cent while the Shanghai Composite is down more than 6 per cent so far on Thursday.
ALS Limited (ASX:ALG) was down 39c, or 6.07 per cent, at $6.04 per share. ALS announced a $174.5m loss over the full-year on Thursday.
Sundance Energy Australia (ASX:SEA) was down 1c, or 1.70 per cent, at 58c per share. Sundance announced it has significantly raised its production levels above production guidance. It has also announced the refinancing of its debt.
Ardent Leisure Group (ASX:AAD) was down 1c, or .47 per cent, at $2.14 per share. Ardent reported strong gains in its Main Event division. However, other divisions such as Health Clubs have faced significant headwinds.
Skilled Group (ASX:SKE) was up 11.5c, or 8.30 per cent, at $1.50 per share. More speculation on a potential merger between Skilled and rival Programmed have driven SKE up on Thursday.