5 points up on 5th day of gains: Aus shares close 0.09% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Ellerm

It has been another solid day of trade for the Australian share market. After opening strongly, the local bourse hovered around the 6143 mark in early afternoon trade, made some late afternoon gains, then slipped back towards the close. It marked the 5th straight day of gains for the ASX, as investors pour into the market with renewed confidence in 2018.

Nearly all economic data was bright today, with building approvals from the ABS pouring ice on the sceptics. As for the sectors, Materials made gains while Health Care slipped, dragged down in part by Sigma Healthcare.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 5 points up, or 0.09 per cent higher/lower to finish at 6,136.

The value of trades was $5.3 billion on volume of 645 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Australia New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ASX:ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG).

On the futures market the SPI is 9 points up.

Economic news

This afternoon the ABS announced building approvals grew by 11.7 per cent in November to 21,055. It was a shock to analysts, who had forecast a decline of 1 per cent. Permits for private sector dwellings excluding houses jumped by 30.6 per cent from a contraction of 2.7 per cent in October.

Company news

APN Outdoor (ASX:APO) has announced Chief Financial Officer and acting CEO Wayne Castle has resigned, effective immediately. Mr Castle joined APN News and Media in 2003, and became CFO of the billboard company in 2012. General Manager Finance David Watkins will be acting CFO and Company Secretary, while James Warburton will commence at CEO on the 22 January. Shares in APN Outdoor (ASX:APO) closed 0.8 per cent lower at $4.93

Magellan Financial Group Limited (ASX:MGF) has reported that total funds under management for December 2017 were slightly lower than those for the prior month. December’s total FUM came in at $57.87 billion, down from November’s $58.563 billion. Net inflows from Australian retail and institutional both fell slightly. The funds management business has indicated it is entitled to performance fees of approximately $9.6 million for the 6 months to 31 December 2017. Shares in Magellan Financial Group Limited (ASX:MGF) closed 1.31 per cent lower at $26.46

Retail Food Group Limited (ASX:RFG) has announced it has downgraded its expected statutory net profit after tax for 1HFY18.

Gold producer and explorer St Barbara (ASX:SBM) has revised its FY2018 gold production guidance, after exceeding half year gold production.

And self-storage provider National Storage REIT (ASX:NSR) intends to raise $15 million through a share purchase plan, offering eligible shareholders the opportunity to purchase up to $15,000 worth of shares.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Materials adding 0.96 per cent to close at 11,988 
The worst performing sector was Healthcare, shedding 0.86 per cent to close at 24,617. points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sims Metal Management (ASX:SGM), rising 3.38 per cent to close at $17.42. Shares in Senex Energy Limited (ASX:SXY) and Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX:PIL) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sigma Healthcare Limited (ASX:SIG), dropping 6.09 per cent to close at $0.93. Shares in Retail Food Group Limited (ASX:RFG) and Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (ASX:API) also closed lower. 

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.58 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.37 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lifted 0.08 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,320 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.46 up at $US61.90 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.55 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has fallen 3.3 per cent in the last 24 hours to $15,482
Ethereum dropped about 1.45 per cent to $1,221
And Litecoin has tumbled about 6.07 per cent to $257