4th straight day of gains: Aus shares close 0.13% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Ellerm

It has been a positive day of trade for the Australian share market. After opening in the black the local bourse locked in its fourth straight day of gains.

Vocus Group Limited (ASX:VOC) was one of the stand out performers today, after the telecommunications provider announced John Ho would join the board as a non-executive director. Mr Ho currently holds a 17.9 per cent interest in the telco. The Vocus share price benefitted from the news, helping the telecommunications sector make the biggest gains this Monday.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 8 points up, or 0.13 per cent higher to finish at 6,130.

The value of trades was $3.3 billion on volume of 491 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 Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG).

On the futures market the SPI is 9 points up.

Economic news

The Australian Industry Group announced today that the December Construction Index dropped 4.7 points on November’s read to 52.8. The data suggests a slight moderation in growth in the sector, however with the number still above 50, expansion is thought to be continuing.

Company news

Automotive Holdings Group (ASX:AHG) has announced it will acquire two franchised automotive dealerships in Auckland for NZ$7.5M. The Hyundai and Mitsubishi dealerships are located close to existing AHG owned Holden and Nissan sales yards. The purchase is in line with AHG’s strategy to acquire and aggregate dealerships around its existing portfolio. Shares in Automotive Holdings Group (ASX:AHG) closed 0.27 per cent higher at $3.70

Phylogica Limited (ASX:PYC) has provided its first test results from mouse melanoma studies involving its FPP treatment. The results have presented further evidence of in vivo efficacy for the company’s core FPP delivery technology. The biotech company has also announced it has jointly filed for an Australian patent with the Telethon Kids Institute for vaccine conjugates inducing an immune response. Shares in Phylogica Limited (ASX:PYC) closed 9.3 per cent higher at $0.05

Financial services company Suncorp (ASX:SUN) expects its insurance brands to be impacted with $160-170 million worth of claims following a hailstorm in Melbourne in December.

Lithium explorer Lithium Power (ASX:LPI) said that its Maricunga lithium project in northern Chile is progressing to a feasibility study, after amending its preliminary economic assessment outcomes.

And mineral exploration company Aeon Metals (ASX:AML) is launching a share purchase plan, giving shareholders the opportunity to purchase up to $5,000 worth of shares in the company.

IPO

Elixinol Global Limited (ASX:EXL) started trading today. The medical cannabis manufacturer and distributor floated with an issue price of $1.00, opened at $1.75 and is currently trading at $1.45.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Telecommunications adding 0.65 per cent to close at 1,351.

The worst performing sector was Materials, slipping 0.18 per cent to close at 11,873 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Vocus Group (ASX:VOC), rising 3.82 per cent to close at $3.26. Shares in Monadelphous Group Limted (ASX:MND) and Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Syrah Resources Limited (ASX:SYR), dropping 2.69 per cent to close at $4.70. Shares in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries LImited (ASX:API) and Lynas Corporation (ASX:LYC) also closed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.89 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has dropped 0.04 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.35 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,320 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.57 lower at $US61.44 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.56 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has dropped 6.4 per cent in the last 24 hours to $15,995
Ethereum gained about 14.86 per cent to $1261
And Litecoin has dropped about 7.01 per cent to $279