ASX tips into ten-year high territory: Aus shares close 0.74% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Ellerm

It has been a robust day of trade for the Australian share market. After catching a tailwind from bullish US markets, the local bourse opened in the black, then climbed steadily for the remainder of the day.

As for the sectors, Financials made a welcome recovery, after taking a battering earlier in the week. All the major banks including Macquarie (ASX:MQG) made gains. Some shine was taken off the REITS sector, which closed lower.

At the final bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 45 points up, or 0.74 per cent higher to finish at 6,122. Over the week the S&P/ASX 200 index 57.2 points.

The value of trades was $3.9 billion on volume of 498 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), and Westfield Corporation (ASX:WFD).

On the futures market the SPI is a healthy 53 points up.

Economic news

The ABS has reported the trade deficit widened to $628 million in November 2017, compared to a $302 million deficit in October. Exports were flat month on month, while imports lifted 1 per cent.

Company news

Viralytics Limited (ASX:VLA) has announced it has raised $29.6 million in a placement to Lepu Medical Group, a leading diversified sciences company in China. At $0.82 per share, the private placement is a 27 per cent premium to the 30-day volume weighted average price of the shares. Alongside existing cash reserves and an anticipated R&D rebate, the new fund will be used to accelerate the global clinical development program for its CAVATEK agent for cancer treatments. Shares in Viralytics Limited (ASX:VLA) closed 6.49 per cent higher at $0.82.

Billabong International Limited (ASX:BBG) has announced its board has backed a $380 million takeover bid from Boardriders, a company controlled by private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management.

Fashion brand Lovisa (ASX:LOV) has recorded a 19 per cent increase in sales in the six months to December 2017, compared to the previous year.

The Hydroponics Company (ASX:THC) has announced that following the recent federal government announcement allowing the exportation of medicinal cannabis from Australia, it is well positioned with international partners to take advantage of the opportunity.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Telecommunication Services adding 1.26 per cent to close at 1,342.

The worst performing sector was REITS, shedding 0.44 per cent to close at 1,396. points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Reliance Worldwide Corporation (ASX:RWC), rising 4.22 per cent to close at $4.20. Shares in Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) and Orocobre Limited (ASX:ORE) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Bega Cheese Limited (ASX:BGA), dropping 2.49 per cent to close at $7.04. Shares in Wisetech Global Limited (ASX:WTC) and Blackmores (ASX:BKL) also closed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lifted 0.18 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 0.23 per cent.

Wall Street

Wrapped up the four trading days this week on a bright note. The Dow notched another record with the index crossing over the 25,000 mark, while the Nasdaq continues to go from strength to strength, despite news of Intel’s chips having security flaws and Apple’s continued battery woes.

This week: The Dow Jones gained 1.42 per cent higher, The S&P 500 gained 1.67 per cent, and the tech heavy Nasdaq added 2.47 per cent, while the 100 index bumped up 2.86 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,322 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.26 up at $US61.89 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.56 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has gained 0.46 per cent in the last 24 hours to $15,329
Ethereum gained about 2.87 per cent to $986
And Litecoin has dropped about 1.62 per cent to $239