Solid start to week: Aus shares close 0.4% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market started the trading week on a front foot, finishing 0.4 per cent higher, or back to where we were mid-January. From the get-go we had positive leads, as Wall Street closed higher. Most of our major sectors made gains and the Aussie dollar hit 3-year highs earlier today.

In the lead; telcos, health care and energy. Resmed (ASX:RMD) continued its rally with CSL (ASX:CSL) Cochlear (ASX:COH) also charging. Energy stocks had fresh pump from a lift in the crude oil price to 3-year highs, with Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) shares rising over 2 with Caltex Australia (ASX:CTX) and Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) following. But in the mining space, we saw some big gains, lithium play Orocobre (ASX:ORE) gained over 5 per cent, while Iluka Resources (ASX:ILU) rose almost 4.9 per cent after its reported a strong a rise in sales and production.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.42 per cent higher or with a gain of 25 points finishing at 6,075

The value of trades was $4.8 billion on volume of 624 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 Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO).

On the futures market the SPI is 43 points up.

Company news 

SEEK (ASX:SEK) revealed its new organisational structure, which also involves a larger operating business being formed, Asia Pacific & Americas (AP&A). The employment group appointed Michael Ilczynski as CEO of AP&A. For the past 12 years Michael has led senior teams in strategy, product and technology. The AP&A business covers SEEK ANZ, SEEK Asia, Brasil Online, OCC and aligned early stage ventures. SEEK (ASX:SEK) closed 0.25 per cent higher at $19.75.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) has appointed Matt Comyn as its new chief executive officer taking effect from 9 April 2018. It comes as Ian Narev announced he would retire before the end of this financial year after being at the helm for the over six years. The big four bank says one of its objectives in seeking a new CEO was finding someone that would restore the bank’s reputation after it had been damaged.

Dairy company Synlait Milk (ASX:SM1) says its 2017-2018 milk forecast price remains steady at $6.50 per kilogram of milk solids.

And environment metal supplier, Clean TeQ (ASX:CLQ) inked a deal with a metals processing company in Africa, to design, supply and commission a $2 million processing facility that uses Clean TeQ’s Ion exchange technology.

In IPOs

Jayride Group (ASX:JAY) started trading today. The global airport transport comparison company, floated with an issue price of 50 cents, opened at 50 cents and closed at 50 cents.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was telcos adding 1.6 per cent to close at 1,302.
The worst performing sector was reits, shedding 1 per cent to close at 1,346 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Orocobre (ASX:ORE), rising 5.7 per cent to close at $7.28. Shares in Fairfax Media (ASX:FXJ) and Iluka Resources (ASX:ILU) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST), dropping 5.9 per cent to close at $5.89. Shares in Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX:SAR) and Regis Resources Limited (ASX:RRL) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.07 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.04 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.54 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,349 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.63 up at $US66.17 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 80.97 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies are trading mixed.

Bitcoin has fallen 1 per cent to $11,591
Ethereum gained about 6.5 per cent to $1,222
And Tether has slipped about 0.7 per cent to $0.98