Best day of 2017 (so far): ASX closes 1.3% higher

Market Reports

by David Chau

The Australian share market put in a strong performance today, defying weak leads from equity markets worldwide.  The ASX 200 rallied past the 5,800 points mark before midday, and has maintained that strong momentum until the closing bell – posting a new record high for 2017, as well as hitting a two-year high.

In this very bullish day, banks and blue chips were the winners. Nearly every sector posted gains, except Utilities.

The S&P/ASX 200 index ended the day 75 points (or 1.3%) higher to close at 5,821.

The value of trades was $5.1 billion on volume of 768 million shares. The top three stocks were Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA), Westpac Bank (ASX:WBC) and BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP).

On the futures market the SPI is up 71 points.

Company news

Department store group Myer (ASX:MYR) has today released a statement, saying it doesn’t know why its share price surged by 18.3% yesterday. Myer noted yesterday’s high turnover of shares, and media speculation surrounding “potential corporate activity involving the company”. Currently, the identity of this mystery buyer is unknown, but analysts are speculating that it is Solomon Lew, the Australian billionaire who is the chairman of Premier Investments. Today, shares in Myer closed 5.16 per cent down at $1.20.

Ramsay Health Care (ASX:RHC) has appointed Craig McNally to be its new Managing Director and CEO, effective from 3 July 2017. This follows last month's announcement that Chris Rex, the current CEO and MD, will retire.

OrotonGroup (ASX:ORL) has released its 1H17 results, and its CEO, Mark Newman, says they are “very disappointing”. The clothing and accessories retailer has withheld its interim dividend after posting a 52% drop in NPAT to $1.8 million.

French construction giant, Vinci, is looking to acquire Australian company, Seymour Whyte (ASX:SWL). The civil and utilities infrastructure company has agreed to a three-month exclusivity arrangement, during which it will provide Vinci with due diligence information, and notify it of any alternative proposals.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Financials excluding REITs, adding 1.8 per cent to close at 7,603. The worst performing sector was Utilities, which is down 0.7 per cent at 8,570 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Mantra (ASX:MTR), rising 12.26 per cent to close at $2.93 after it responded to media speculation that it is currently not in discussions with any potential buyer. Shares in Ardent Leisure (ASX:AAD) and Aconex (ASX:ACX) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock today was actually yesterday’s top performing stock. Myer (ASX:MYR), dropped 5.16 per cent to close at $1.20. Shares in Isentia (ASX:ISD) and Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) also closed lower.

IPOs

Two new companies listed on the ASX today:

Visioneering Technologies (ASX:VTI) issued at 42 cents, opened at 45 cents, and closed at 44.5 cents.

Lithium Consolidated Mineral Exploration (ASX:LI3) issued at 20 cents, opened at 22 cents, and closed at 18 cents.


Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,255 an ounce.
Light crude is down $0.12 at $US47.85 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7612.