Directionless day for ASX

WEAK overseas indicators did not bode well for Australian shares, with a lack of encouraging leads positioning the market for another flat close.

Lauren Barrett

It was not helped by news of the death of a contract worker at Fortescue Metals Group Christmas Creek operation in the Pilbara, on the eve of founder Andrew Forrest’s arrival to open its much-anticipated fourth ore shipment berth at the Herb Elliott Port facility.

FMG lost A2.1% to $4.20 today.

The market opened slightly lower as investors lost confidence following disappointing data out of the US.

With no significant local data out to steer traders in a positive direction, investors had a mixed reaction to a raft of corporate earnings results out today.

The S&P/ASX 200 index only traded above yesterday’s closing price for one hour, and at the closing bell slid just 0.1%, or 5 points, to 5152.4 points while the Australian dollar was higher at 91.67c.

The miners stayed in positive territory with the basic materials sector gaining 0.6%, thanks to a strong performance by the gold miners.

Perseus Mining was a standout, up 14.9%, or 8.5c, to 65.5c, while PanAust closed at $2.27 after gaining 6.1%.

Resolute Mining added 5% to 83.5c and Ramelius Resources surged 14.3% to 16c.

Endeavour Mining Corporation shares firmed 18.2% to 91c despite the company booking a loss for the second quarter.

Newcrest Mining advanced 1.3% to $12.09, with ratings agency Standard & Poor’s announcing today it had revised the gold producer’s credit rating from BBB to BBB- with a stable outlook.

Newcrest confirmed there were no triggers in the company’s existing debt agreements that resulted in any change to its cost or availability of funds under those arrangements as a consequence of the re-rating.

Mirabela Nickel was another company making a notable move on the bourse, extending yesterday’s 6% gain after adding 13.6% to 10c.

The iron ore companies were weaker, with Atlas Iron falling 1.9% to $1.01.

Elsewhere, Intrepid Mines was up 7.7% to 28c and Elemental Minerals travelled 10.2% higher to 48.5c after being awarded a mining licence for its Sintoukola project.

Junior Breakaway Resources, meanwhile, surged 16.7% to 1.4c on no announcement.