Strong finish: Aus shares close 0.39% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market shook off its dusty start, with most of the market pulling up its sleeves today. We finished above 5790-point mark, maintaining that one month high.

Gains in the banks led us higher, with the likes of the Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) rising about 1.6 per cent after reporting better profits than the market excepted.

Meantime, NAB (ASX:NAB) outperformed the other three major banks, while gains were capped today on the local bourse by a fall in iron ore price. We saw selling in the big miners with the most selling in Forestcue (ASX:FMG), which dropped 1.8 per cent, while BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto’s (ASX:RIO) losses were not that far behind.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 11 points up, or 0.39 per cent higher to finish at 5,795.

The value of trades was $4.6 billion on volume of 625 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Westpac Bank (ASX:WBC) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).

On the futures market the SPI is 26 points up.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.1 per cent.

Local economic news

The ABS reported today housing finance rose 2.1 per cent in August, largely bolstered by strong growth in investment lending.

Company news 

Wave energy developer, Carnegie Clean Energy (ASX:CCE) has announced Jeff Harding will retire as Chairman and from the board after being with the company for 8 years. Terry Stinson (ASX:CCE) was appointed as non-executive and will be elected as Chair. The company also appointed Mark Woodall as non-executive director at the same time. Shares in Carnegie Clean Energy (ASX:CCE) closed 2.33 per cent lower at 4 cents.

Bellamy’s Australia (ASX:BAL) the organic Australian infant formulae business has upgraded its FY18 guidance for its revenue and EBITA margin. It’s also expecting first half revenue to be higher than the second half. Shares in Bellamy’s Australia (ASX:BAL) closed 4.6 per cent higher at $10.23.

Mantra Group (ASX:MTR) entered a binding agreement with French based, Accor Hotels, which will buy all of Mantra’s shares for $1.25 billion. Mantra’s board has also given the green light for the transaction to go ahead.

While, the Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) announced a 5 per cent increase in its yearly profits (closing FY17 31 August 2017), with cash earnings after tax hitting $378 million, which was better than analysts expected. The bank also declared a special dividend of 8 cents per share, and maintained its fully franked final dividend at 38 cents per ordinary share.

And Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) has seen record saleable coal production of 5.9 million tonnes and record coal sales, of 6.1 million tonnes, both in the September quarter.

The best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Utilties adding 1.67 per cent to close at 8,072.
The worst performing sector was Materials, shedding 0.65 per cent to close at 10,453. points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was IPH Limited (ASX:IPH), rising 8.53 per cent to close at $5.60. Shares in Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX:NST) and Mayne Pharma Group Limited (ASX:MYX) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Flexigroup Limited (ASX:FXL), dropping 3.42 per cent to close at $1.55. Shares in Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Limited (ASX:FPH) and Whitehaven Coal Limited (ASX:WHC) also closed lower.

Commodities and the dollar 

Gold is trading at $US1,295 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.09 up at $US51.32 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.14 US cents.