The local bourse opened strong, lost steam and closed flat. Despite closing in the red, it was one of our strongest openings thanks to positive US sentiment and local M&A news. Westfield, amongst the key influencers as Frank Lowy sold the shopping centre empire for $32b.
As for the sectors, REITs lead the charge gaining almost 2 per cent, with the likes of Charter Hall (ASX:CHC) adding close to half a per cent. Staples, Telcos and Industrials also in positive territory. Putting a cap on gains was Utilities, still absorbing news of AGL’s plans to close it's Liddell coal station. Also dragging the market was Consumer Discretionaries, Energy and Financials. Tatts Group (ASX:TTS) slipping close to 3 per cent.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index 0.14 per cent higher to finish at 6, 022.
The value of trades was $6.3 billion on volume of 859 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Westfield Corporation (ASX:WFD) Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and A2 Milk (ASX:A2M).
On the futures market the SPI is 8 points higher.
Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) has reported new discoveries at their Pilgangoora lithium-tantalum project, supporting Stage 2 of the Definitive Feasibility study. Drilling at the Western Australian site has revealed high-grade pegmatite mineralization. The company says the resource growth continues to demonstrate the site is yet to reach its full potential. Stage 2 of the program will focus on diamond drilling. Shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) closed 2.13% higher at $0.96c.
Mineral Commodities (ASX:MRC) has announced that it has lodged six new exploration licenses to explore for lithium, copper, gold and iron in Western Australia. The mining and exploration company is targeting the Yandeyarra region. Drilling is fully funded to $1.5 million over the next 2 years. Shares in Mineral commodities closed flat.
Westfield (ASX:WFD) has been bought by French property giant Unibail-Rodamco for $32.74 billion.
NAB (ASX:NAB) announced it will reveal its 2018 first quarter results to the market on 8 February 2018, so keep a note in your dairies. As a refresher, NAB closed 0.07 percent lower at $29.95.
Air New Zealand (ASX:AIZ) has seen a rise of 6 per cent in its total passenger numbers, this financial year to date, with passengers rising across all of its region. The most growth this 2018 financial year has came from domestic passengers, following by short haul and Tasman/Pacific flights.
P2P Transport Limited (ASX:P2P) started trading today. The Australian fleet management and transport company floated with an issue price of $1.32, opened at $1.44 and closed at $1.32.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was REITS adding 1.9 per cent to close at 1,479.
The worst performing sector was Utilities, shedding 0.6 per cent to close at 8, 619 points.
The best performing stock was Westfield (ASX:WFD), rising 13.65 per cent to close at $9.66. Shares in Cleanaway Waste Management (ASX:CWY) Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Iron Mountain Inc (ASX:INM), dropping 6.56 per cent to close at $49.73. Shares in Credit Corp Group (ASX:CCP) and Tab Corp (ASX:TAH) also closed lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.46 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 0.53 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.13 per cent.
To commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,245 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.58 lower up at $US57.47 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.79 US cents.