3rd best close in 12 months: Aus shares close 0.18% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

It has been a positive close for the Friday session, with the local bourse hitting its 3rd best peak in 12 months. After quickly shaking off a red start, utilites led most of the sectors and the market higher.

Suncorp (ASX:SUN) outperformed the banks and the big four, while Lendlease (ASX:LLC) also shone out of the big property funds, rising 2.3 per cent.

Putting a lid on gains today, was the energy space after the oil price dropped 1.4 per cent overnight, which led to selling in Santos (ASX:STO), Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) and Origin Energy (ASX:ORG).

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 11 points up, or 0.18 per cent higher to finish at 5,907.

The value of trades was $4.5 billion on volume of 633 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO).

On the futures market the SPI is 10 points up.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.05 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.1 per cent.

Wall Street

Over the four trading days this week, the Dow Jones added 1.3 per cent, The S&P 500 gained 0.4 per cent and the tech heavy Nasdaq was steady, while the 100 index was also flat.

Company news 

Overland Resources (ASX:OVR) has terminated the agreement to potentially buy the Trojan Gold Project from Australian gold producer, Westgold Resources (ASX:WGX). Shares in Westgold Resources (ASX:WGX) closed about 1.6 per cent lower at $1.88

Renewable energy company, Genex Power (ASX:GNX) has completed the optimisation study of its 250 megawatt hydro project in Kidston, North Queensland. As a result the power generation increased by 25 per cent to 8 hours of constant power. Shares in Genex Power (ASX:GNX) closed 6 per cent higher at $0.27.

Macquarie Atlas Roads (ASX:MQA) announced its CEO, Peter Trent will step down early next years after eight years in the role, with James Hooke to take the post.

Buy now, pay later company, Zip Money (ASX:ZML) has reported record quarterly revenue of $6.9 million, which is a 22 per cent gain compared to the fourth quarter of FY2017.

Australian Kingfish and tuna producer, Clean Seas Seafood (ASX:CSS) has raised $7 million (before costs) through an institutional placement and is also planning to raise $8.9 million (before costs), all to fund farming infrastructure and support a massive biomass rise.

The best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was utilites adding 1.7 per cent to close at 8,444.
The worst performing sector was healthcare, shedding 0.4 per cent to close at 23,800. points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Vocus Group Limited (ASX:VOC), rising 6.8 per cent to close at $2.81. Shares in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries LIMITED (ASX:API) and Tassal Group Limited (ASX:TGR) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Spark New Zealand Limited (ASX:SPK), dropping 3.2 per cent to close at $3.30. Shares in Orocobre Limited (ASX:ORE) and IOOF Holdings (ASX:IFL) also closed lower.

Commodities and dollar 

Gold is trading at $US1,284 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.67 lower at $US51.59 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.44 US cents.