Back in the black: Aus shares close 0.57% higher

Market Reports

by Carolyn Herbert

It has been a positive end to the trading session for the Australian share market, breaking its two day losing streak this week and closing the day 0.57 per cent higher. The materials space, along with utilities did the bulk of the heavy lifting this session, with gains in the big miners as well as the gold stocks. Not such a good day for consumer discretionaries however, with the likes of JB Hi Fi (ASX:JBH) and Slater and Gordon (ASX:SGH) both losing close to 2 per cent.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 32 points higher to finish at 5,653.

The value of trades was $5 billion on volume of 755 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO).

On the futures market the SPI is 49 points higher.

Economic news

Manufacturing activity in Australia has softened for 2017, according to latest figures from the AI Group. PMI fell by 4.2 points to 51.2 in January. It’s the first time in five months that PMI has fallen.

Company news

Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES) has announced the completion of the receivables sale agreement, relating to the Coles credit card portfolio between Citi and Coles. As a result the ten year agreement between Citi and Coles for the distribution of Coles branded credit cards has commenced. Citi will be the credit card issuer and manage the operations of the credit card portfolio. Shares in Wesfarmers Limited closed 1.49 per cent higher at $40.86.

Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN) has announced higher production and revenue for the second quarter of the 2017 financial year, on the back of better winds in New South Wales and South Australia.

Ozforex Group ltd (ASX:OFX) has announced its appointed John Alexander Malcolm as its Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, effectively immediately.

Bapcor Finance (ASX:BAP) has announced it will complete its takeover of Hellaby Holdings Limited (NZX:HBY).

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Utilities adding 1.4 per cent to close at 8,073. The worst performing sector was Consumer Discretionaries, losing 0.3 per cent to close at 2,052 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Fairfax Media (ASX:FXJ), rising 5.88 per cent to close at $0.90. Shares in Mantra (ASX:MTR) and Virtus Health (ASX:VRT) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Ansell (ASX:ANN), dropping 5.68 per cent to close at $22.43. Shares in Iluka Resources (ASX:ILU) and Dominos Pizza (ASX:DMP) also closed lower.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,209 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.17 higher at $US52.80 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0. 7571.


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