Broker upgrades and stellar reporting: Aus shares close 0.8% higher | Finance News Network

Broker upgrades and stellar reporting: Aus shares close 0.8% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

It has been a solid day of trade for the Australian share market finishing almost 0.8 per cent higher and clawing back some of 1.3 per cent we lost last week and yesterday. 

The energy space gained the most followed by healthcare on the back of ResMed reporting stronger financial results than expected.

Yesterday’s top 200 worst performer Domain Holdings (ASX:DHG) was today’s best performer after UBS analysts upgraded the stock to a buy from a sell.

Lithium companies bounced back from yesterday’s sell-off after Chilean heavyweight SQM announced it would ramp up production to meet rising demands for the electric car market. Companies like Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) surged over 7 per cent and Orocobre (ASX:ORE) rose 5 per cent. Other mining companies like Orica (ASX:ORI) gained 5 per cent after a broker upgrade.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 45 points up, or 0.8 per cent higher to finish at 6,037.

The value of trades was $4.8 billion on volume of 663 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP),

On the futures market the SPI is 50 points up.

Company news 

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) became a substantial holder in financial platform, MYOB (ASX:MYO) snapping up a total of 30 million shares or about 5 per cent of the company. The big four bank also snapped up a major holding in nib Holdings (ASX:NHF) today, buying over 5 per cent of the health insurer. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) shares clawed back some of yesterday losses and it gained 0.5 per cent today, closing at $79.25.

QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) is expecting a $1.2 billion after-tax loss for 2017 after it costs rose 1 per cent above expectations on the back of payouts for the Californian wildfires and December Australian storms. The US corporate tax being dropped to 21 per cent also resulted in a $230 million write down.

ResMed (ASX:RMD) shares rallied strongly today after it announced its revenue rose 13 per cent to $601.3 million for the December quarter (compared to pcp), beating forecasts. The health cloud company also declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.35 per share payable on in March.

South32 (ASX:S32) advised its two chief operating officers will now be accountable for managing South Africa Energy Coal (SAEC) as a standalone business.

In IPOs

Carbonxt Group Limited (ASX:CG1) started trading today. The company which aims to reduce environmental pollutants through the development of activated carbons floated with an issue price of $0.70, opened at $0.70 and closed at $0.66.

Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was energy adding 1.7 per cent to close at 10,904.
The sector that gained the least was telcos, which closed with a minor gain of 0.01per cent to close at 1,287 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Domain Holdings Australia (ASX:DHG), rising 9.1 per cent to close at $3.00. Shares in ResMed Inc (ASX:RMD) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API), dropping 6.1 per cent to close at $1.39. Shares in HT&E (ASX:HT1) and Pact Group Holdings (ASX:PGH) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 1.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has risen 1.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.6 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,336 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.63 up at $US63.94 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 79.89 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading mixed.

Bitcoin has fallen 9 per cent to $10,617
Ethereum fallen about 9 per cent to $968
And Tether has gained about 0.8 per cent to $1.01.