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S&P/ASX 200 closes down 0.7%, Australian city homes fall for fifth straight month

Home prices across Australia's major cities fell for a fifth straight month in February.

investor looking at stock exchange boards all red
No sector of the Aussie market is positive today, Energy was the worst performer, down 2.1%

S&P/ASX 200 (INDEXASX:XJO) (ASX:XJO) has closed back under the 6,000-point level.

4.10pm: ASX closes down 0.7%

The ASX 200 closed down 42.7 points or 0.7% lower at 5,973.3.

Energy (-2.17%) and Utilities (-1.64%) were the worst performing sectors on the market today.

Mid-cap software designer Altium (ASX:ALU) was one of the better performers, up 2.9% alongside small-cap resources stock GWR Group Ltd (ASX:GWR) which was up 52.3%.

2.44pm: ASX down 0.8%

The ASX 200 is down 0.8% or 50.2 points to 5,965.8.

The quarterly private capital expenditure data released by the ABS at 11.30am was well under consensus expectations at -0.2% (vs +1.0%), which pushed the AUD lower.


Australian housing prices fall for fifth straight month

Home prices across Australia's major cities fell for a fifth straight month in February.

CoreLogic's index of home prices for the combined capital cities fell 0.3% in February adding to the 0.5% fall in January.

Annual growth in prices slowed to 2.0%, down from 10.5% in mid-2017.

Sydney dropped 0.6% in February while Melbourne proved more resilient only dropping 0.1%.

10.46am: ASX down 0.7%

The ASX 200 is down 0.7% or 42.2 points to 5,973.8.

Notably, this is over 10 points above its low of 5,962.7 which the XJO hit at 10.25am.

A number of stocks go ex-dividend today including Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Ltd (ASX:BEN), Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG), Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) and Woolworths Group Ltd (ASX:WOW).

Pre-market wrap: ASX 200 set to open lower as US finishes in the red overnight

The Dow Jones (INDEXDJX:DJI) closed down 380 points or 1.50% to 25,029.

The AUDUSD is largely unchanged, down 0.2% over the past 24 hours to 0.7769.

Gold was unchanged at US$1,319 while WTI Crude Oil was down again, off 2.21%, to US$61.62 per barrel.

Upcoming economic data: Quarterly private capital expenditure

At 11.30am AEST the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will release the quarterly data for private capital expenditure (consensus forecast: 1.0%).

It measures the change in the total inflation-adjusted value of new capital expenditures made by private businesses.

It's a leading indicator of economic health - businesses are quickly affected by market conditions, and changes in their investment levels can be an early signal of future economic activity such as hiring, spending, and earnings.

Other data points include the AIG manufacturing index at 9.30am AEST and China’s Caixin manufacturing PMI at 12.45pm AEST.

Reporting season over: Stocks outperforming in 2018

With February over, ASX reporting season also concludes.

Year to date, some of the best performing stocks on the ASX include:

• Yancoal Australia Ltd (ASX:YAL) up 28%
• Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX:FLT) up 30%
• Seven Group Holdings Ltd (ASX:SVW) up 19%
Corporate Travel Management Ltd (ASX:CTD) up 21%
Altium Limited (ASX:ALU) up 57%
• Bellamy's Australia Ltd (ASX:BAL) up 75%
Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX:SRX) up 66%
Afterpay Touch Group Ltd (ASX:APT) up 19%
• Lovisa Holdings Ltd (ASX:LOV) up 32%
• Kogan.com Ltd (ASX:KGN) up 35%

Miners BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) have been the best performing of the ASX heavyweights, up 2.0% and 2.7% respectively.

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