QBE leads financials up: Aus shares close 0.6% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market made its second straight day of gains this week, closing 0.6 per cent higher today.

Just in the first two hours of trade we added 0.4 per cent and managed to push even higher throughout the session with financials, calling the shots and leading half of the sectors higher. QBE (ASX:QBE) added the most fuel after the insurer announced a new CEO.

Putting a somewhat cap on gains, was weight from the utilites, telcos and the energy space, with AGL (ASX:AGL) losing about 1.5 per cent as the company remains in the media spotlight in the wake of closing Liddell in 2022.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 33 points up, or 0.58 per cent higher/lower to finish at 5,746.

The value of trades was $5.2 billion on volume of 732 million shares at the close of trade.

The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) Westpac (ASX:WBC), and ANZ (ASX:ANZ).

On the futures market the SPI is 41 points up.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 1.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lifted by 0.02 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.15 per cent.

Local economic news

Business confidence rose to its highest level in nearly 10 years, with employment conditions continuing to improve and some analysts now saying that brings the case forward to the Reserve Bank to hike rate.

Company news now

BluGlass (ASX:BLG) has announced its next generation semiconductor LED technology to power electronics and solar-cells has met its targets. The company was targeting thickness uniformity of its product, BLG-300, over 2, 4 and 6 inch wafters. BluGlass says its technology shows that RPCVD can be scaled up which is a substantial step in its commercialisation efforts. Shares in BluGlass (ASX:BLG) closed 10.94 per cent higher at $0.35.

QBE Insurance Group (ASX:QBE) has announced Patrick Regan will replace current Group CEO John Neal as of 1 January 2018, who is stepping down after 5 years at the helm.

In the wake of Slater and Gordon’s (ASX:SGH) operational and strategic review, 7 per cent of its employees will be axed, with a number of its office locations to also be ‘impacted’.

Kidman Resources (ASX:KDR) has announced it has finalised and executed definitive agreements with Chilean miner SQM, regarding the 50-50 Mt Holland Joint Venture.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Financials (ex-reits) adding 1.3 per cent to close at 7,104.

The worst performing sector was Utilites, shedding 0.89 per cent to close at 8,344 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY), rising 11.81 per cent to close at $2.65. Shares in Syrah Resources (ASX:SY) and South32 Limited (ASX:S32) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Regis Resources (ASX:RRL), dropping 5.04 per cent to close at $3.96. Shares in Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX:SAR) and Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) also closed lower.

IPOs

CropLogic Limited (ASX:CLI) started trading today. The decision support system for agricultural growers floated with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.16 and closed at $0.16.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,327 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.62 up at $US48.10 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 80.25 US cents.

 

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