Australia follows negative overseas leads: Afternoon market insights

The Australian market was down today after negative leads from the northern hemisphere overnight, with the US and European stock markets falling. The negative sentiment in world financial markets was driven by a poor take-up by investors of Spanish bonds.

Australian resources, metals and mining, telecommunication services and information technology services all declined in a tough day. Only the utilities sector rose.

The S&P/ASX200 was down 0.40% to 4316.60. The All Ordinaries Index was down 0.44% to 4399.30 at 3.00pm.

The winners

Pacific Brands (ASX: PBG) rose 4.35% to $0.60 at 2.40pm. In January the company was approached by New York-based private equity firm KKR, which was interested in buying the company.

Spotless group (ASX: SPT) was up 2.66% to $2.46 at 2.40pm. The cleaning, laundry, food and retailer services giant has revenues of $2.8 billion and operattes in 30 countries.

The day’s losers

Macmahon (ASX: MAH) was down 8.13% to $0.735 at 2.40pm. The Australian construction and contract mining company has major projects in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Mongolia and Africa.

Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX: HVN) had fallen 4.65% to $4.10 by 3.10pm. Harvey Norman’s half-year results, posted a month ago, showed profits were down.

Sector movers

The strongest sector was the S&P/ASX 200 Utilities (Sector) index which was up 0.34% to 4883.2 at 3pm.

The weakest sector was the All Ordinaries Gold (Sub-Industry) which was down 1.73% to 5827.00.


The Australian dollar stayed weak today. One Australian dollar was buying $US1.0295 at 3pm.

Asian markets

Japan’s NIKKEI 225 was down 0.76%, or 74.16 points, to 9745.83 at 3pm AEST.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was also down 1.09% to 20564.30.

Asian financial markets were down to a one-month low following the negative lead from Europe overnight.

“The fact that investors were so unenthusiastic about Spain’s auction reminded people that Europe has made very little real progress in solving its debt problems,” said Hisakazu Amano, who helps oversee the equivalent of $24 billion at T&D Asset Management Co in Tokyo.

Japan’s yen strengthened and the Shanghai Composite Index rallied 1.4% as trading resumed after a three-day holiday.


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