Despite what was looking like another red finish for the Australian share market, the local bourse managed to turn things around in the last hour of trade and close the day in the black by the skin of its teeth or 0.11 per cent higher. The flat finish was characterised by weakness in the financials space, which was then counteracted by a rebound in materials following a jump in the Dallian iron ore futures. Gold stocks also continued to rally as the price of the precious metals jumped again overnight on the back of President Trump uncertainty.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 6 points up to finish at 5,622.
The value of trades was $5.5 billion on volume of 819 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB).
On the futures market the SPI is 3 points up.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has once again kept interest rates on hold at a record low of 1.5 per cent at its first board meeting for the year. RBA governor Phillip Lowe cited varying housing market conditions around the country as the main reason for keeping the cash rate unchanged.
Estia Health Limited (ASX:EHE) has announced the appointment of Steve Lemlin as its new Chief Financial Officer. Mr Lemlin holds more than 30 years experience in senior financial and operational roles and was previously in a leadership role at Ramsay Health Care. Shares in Estia Health closed 1.84 per cent higher at $2.77.
Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) has signed contracts to enter into two partnerships with major hospital networks in the United States.
Transurban Group (ASX:TCL) reported its proportional EBITDA rose 12.1% in the first half of the current financial year.
Cabcharge (ASX:CAB) has confirmed that the sale of its 49% equity interest in the CDCBus joint venture is expected to complete in late February 2017.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Industrials adding 2.1 per cent to close at 5,054. The worst performing sector was Telcos, losing 1.4 per cent to close at 1,764 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Saracen Minerals (ASX:SAR), rising 6.75 per cent to close at $1.27. Shares in Bellamy’s (ASX:BAL) and Transurban (ASX:TCL) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Tabcorp (ASX:TAH), dropping 4.28 per cent to close at $4.25. Shares in Orocobre (ASX:ORE) and Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX) also closed lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,233 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.73 down to $US53.10 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US76.70.