Nine year high: Aus shares close 0.54% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

It was a stellar day of trade for the Australian stock market, setting a fresh 9 year high, extending its pre-Christmas cheer, gaining about 0.5 per cent with all the major sectors closing mostly in positive territory.

The miners extended their run after iron ore price led the way with Lynas (ASX:LYC) shooting to the top as the star performer today gaining over 9 per cent. Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) gained 5.6 per cent, while Orocobre (ASX:ORE) and Saracen (ASX:SAR) shares rose 5 per cent. Global cloud-based software developer, Wisetech Global Limited (ASX:WTC) also rubbed shoulders with the star performers and it gained over 4 per cent.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.54 per cent or 33 points higher to 6,072 points.

The value of trades was $5.8 billion on volume of 786 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were ANZ (ASX:ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and BHP (ASX:BHP).

On the futures market the SPI is 45 points up to 6,086.

Local economic news

The RBA advised in its meeting minutes that although the global growth outlook had improved, commodity prices and Australia's terms of trade were expected to decline in the period ahead, but remain at high levels.

The RBA also noted growth in employment, particularly full-time employment, had risen and the unemployment rate had fallen to a four-year low. 

Company news 

Real estate development company based in Malaysia, United Overseas Australia, (ASX:UOS) has downgraded its operating profit guidance by AUD$55 million to AUD$106 million for the financial year ending 31 December 2017. Its shares lost 2.3 per cent to $0.63.

Pokemon (The Pokemon Company International) has won a Federal Court case against a global online marketplace that distributes artists content, Redbubble (ASX:RBL). Although the Court declined to award any injunctions, Pokemon was awarded $1 of damages. The company says it has and will not impact its ongoing business. Its shares gained 2 per cent to $1.26.

The owner of Donut King, Brumby's Bakery, Michel's Patisserie and Gloria Jean’s, Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) claimed the worst performing post today losing about 25 per cent after it downgraded its first half 2018 statutory net profit after tax to be $20 million, down from $33 million in the first half of 2017. The business will also see a one off write down of $7 million. Shares in Retail Food Group closed at $1.98.

Retail travel franchise Helloworld Travel (ASX:HLO) has inked a deal to buy the Magellan Travel Group for $32.5 million. Its shares finished 3 per cent higher.

Australian agribusiness, Webster (ASX:WBA) has promoted its chief financial officer and company secretary, Maurice Felizzi, to the role of CEO, taking effect in January 2018. He was previously CEO of Clarendon Homes and Pacific Magazines just to name a few companies where he was also at the helm. Webster shares fell 4 per cent.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Materials adding 1.4 per cent to close at 11,247.
The worst performing sector was Industrials, shedding 0.05 per cent to close at 6,015. points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC), rising 7.14 per cent to $1.95.Shares in Syrah Resources Limited (ASX:SYR) and Orocobre (ASX:ORE) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG), are trading 25.3 per cent lower to $1.98. Shares in Estia Health (ASX:EHE) and Carsales.Com (ASX:CAR) also closed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.9 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.7 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,264 an ounce.
Light crude is higher at $US57.35 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.71 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin is trading $19,018
Ethereum gained about 16 per cent to $828
And Litecoin has gained about 18 per cent to $371