It has been a positive start to the trading week for the Australian share market, finishing with a gain of 0.12 per cent. At the open we gained 0.5 per cent but lost momentum with profit taking in the Energy and Telco sectors putting a cap on gains, which saw the ASX lose steam in afternoon trade.
Profit taking in large companies ultimately held back gains today as well, with the likes of NEXTDC (ASX:NXT) falling over 4 per cent, Fairfax (ASX:FXJ) slid over 2 per cent along with Macquare Atals Roads (ASX:MQA), Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG).
The materials and mining sector flexed its muscle though and lead half of the major sectors higher. It comes as the gold price is at one year high with Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) and Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) taking two top performing posts, while large and smaller lithium cap stocks again put pedal to the metal with Orocobre (ASX:ORE) rising 2 per cent, Argosy Minerals (ASX:AGY) gaining about 18 per cent, followed by other lithium companies like Tawana Resources (ASX:TAW) which added about 7 per cent. While the iron ore price slipped, BHP (ASX:BHP) and Fortescue (ASX:FMG) didn’t see much movement.
Also in the commodity space, the crude oil price pushed higher again, which saw energy investors and traders snap up profits, with the likes of Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) falling over 2 per cent. While Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) issued new shares and its shares closed 1.8 per cent lower.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.12 per cent up or 7 pts higher at 6,077 points
The value of trades was $4 billion on volume of 565 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Amcor (ASX:AMC) and South32 (ASX:S32).
On the futures market the SPI is 12 points up.
More company news
Woolworths' (ASX:WOW) liquor business, Endeavour Drinks appointed Steve Donohue as its new managing director. He is currently director of buying and merchandising for Woolworths Supermarkets, but will take the helm in April this year, as head of Endeavour Drinks which includes Dan Murphy’s, BWS, Cellarmasters brands, just to name a few. Woolworths (ASX:WOW) shares closed flat at $27.25.
NAB (ASX:NAB) sold down its substantial holding in horticultural company Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC). Shares in Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC) closed 0.8 per cent higher at $6.35.
Challenger sold down some of its major holding in satellite company, Speedcast (ASX:SDA) as the telco company continues trades at an all-time highs. As a result of the sell down, Speedcast claimed one of the worst performing spots today.
Real estate management company, Cromwell Property Group (ASX:CMW) extended its on-market buy-back until Friday 18 January 2019, and announced a share purchase plan to raise up to $30 million to repay short-term debt and fund potential investments.
And zinc mining company New Century Resources (ASX:NCZ) defined a new mineral resource at its south block zinc mine, which provides the opportunity for increased production and a longer mine life.
Cygnus Gold (ASX:CY5) started trading today. It floated with an issue price of $0.20 opened at $0.30 and it closed flat at $0.30.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was Materials adding 1.07 per cent to 12,115.
The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 0.82 per cent to 11,148.
The top three performing stocks in the S&P/ASX 200 in order were Mayne Pharma Group (ASX:MYX), rising 6.8 per cent at $0.79, followed by shares in Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) and Resolute Mining (ASX:EVN) also closed higher.
The worst performing stocks in the S&P/ASX 200 in order were was NEXTDC Limited (ASX: NXT), dropping 4.03 per cent to close at $5.72. Followed by shares in Fairfax Media (ASX:FXJ) and Macquarie Atlas Roads Group (ASX:MQG)
Japan’s Nikkei added 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has rose 0.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has China’s Shanghai Composite lost 0.1 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,344 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.55 up at $US64.25 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 79.60 US cents.
Bitcoin has fallen about 3 per cent to US$13,802
Ethereum dropped about 2 per cent to US$1,345
And Ripple shed about 4 per cent to US$1.86