Wednesday stair climb: Aus shares close 0.3% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market had a positive day of trade day, gaining 0.3 per cent with the top 200 index, the ASX200 now back where it was mid-January. Nevertheless it’s still 1 per cent lower than its record highs set in the beginning of January.

Most of the major sectors charged forth with QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) shining the most out of the majors following on from yesterday’s news that it’s expecting a $1.2 billion after-tax loss.

Materials lost team today and spent most of the day in red territory after the iron ore and copper prices fell, with the mining heavy weights like Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and BHP (ASX:BHP) closing lower. Some lithium companies also entered back into selling territory following oversupply fears. 

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 18 point higher or 0.29 per cent up for Wednesday at 6,055 points.

The value of trades was $5.1 billion on volume of 651 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO).

On the futures market the SPI is 23 points up.

Company news now

The owner of Priceline and Soul Pattinson Chemist, just to name a few, Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API) held their AGM with advising its half year net profit after tax will be 9 per cent lower than the prior corresponding period to $26.5 million. Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API) shareholders and traders didn't mind the news post AGM along with its other messaging. Its share gained over 3.3 per cent today.

Rio Tinto’s (ASX:RIO) chief executive met with the Prime Minister of Mongolia and other government representatives in the country’s capital city to progress their partnership on accelerating a power station for Mongolia, with many other things on the table.

Oil and gas company, Santos (ASX:STO) saw its total sales revenue rise 20 per cent in 2017 to US$3.1 billion compared to the prior year. Despite production and sales volumes marginally falling its average oil selling price rose.

And investment and superannuation platform HUB24’s (ASX:HUB) funds under administration grew to $7 billion after a strong second quarter.

IPOs

WhiteHawk (ASX:WHK) started trading today. The cybersecurity provider for small to medium businesses, floated with an issue price of 20 cents, opened at 22 cents and closed at 26.5 cents.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was healthcare adding 1.1 per cent
The worst performing sector was materials, shedding 0.2 per cent

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was QBE Insurance Group  (ASX:QBE), rising 5.4 per cent to close Shares in Wisetech Global Limited (ASX:WTC) and Domain Holdings Australia Limited (ASX:DHG) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Gwa Group (ASX:GWA), dropping 4.4 per cent to close Shares in St Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM) and HT&E (ASX:HT1) followed lower. 

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.8 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has slipped 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is up slightly.

Commodites and the dollar 

Gold is trading at $US1,340 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.90 up at $US64.47 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 80.15 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading higher

Bitcoin has gained about 0.7 per cent to about $10,750
Ethereum is slightly higher to $978
And Tether has gained the most, 3.4 per cent to $1.34.