Best and worst stocks on the ASX today

After spending most of the session in negative territory the S&P/ASX 200 Index (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) has managed to tick higher in late afternoon trade to post a small rise, ending the day up 0.16%.

Today’s action follows a lacklustre close on Wall Street last week where, after hitting a new all-time intraday high, US stocks sold off with the Dow Jones ending the day down 0.17%, while the S&P 500 closed 0.29% lower. For the week, the Dow and S&P were 1.5% and 1.4% higher respectively.

In economic news, investors spent much of the day awaiting the release of the HSBC and Markit Economics Flash PMI reading for China which came in at 48.1 for March. A reading below 50 suggests manufacturing activity continues to contract.

Sectors were mixed with consumer discretionary, energy, information technology, industrials and consumer staples all declining. Financials, health care, materials, property, telecommunication services and utilities all rose.

Here are the top five best performing stocks in the index today.

  • Kathmandu Holdings Ltd (ASX: KMD) rallied 11.3% to $3.45
  • Transfield Services Limited (ASX: TSE) jumped  7.7% to 84 cents
  • Beadell Resources Ltd (ASX: BDR) gained 4.6% to 68 cents
  • UGL Limited (ASX: UGL) climbed 4.6% to $6.88
  • OZ Minerals Limited (ASX: OZL) added 4.1% to $3.31

These stocks were the losers on the day.

  • Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX: LYC) dropped 8.7% to 21 cents
  • Metcash Limited (ASX: MTS) fell 5.3% to $2.70
  • Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL) lost 4.2% to $5.21
  • Fletcher Building Limited (Australia) (ASX: FBU) declined 3.6% to $8.85
  • Skilled Group Ltd. (ASX: SKE) slipped 3.4% to $2.83

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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