The Australian stock market clawed back some Tuesday's losses and we gained 0.8 per cent today. But it still wasn’t enough to recoup from the 3.3 per cent slide we saw yesterday, our biggest one-day stumble since September 2015.
Gains in the market were led by energy stocks and mining companies with lithium players popping the most, leading most the sectors higher. Holding us back were falls in utilites and financials.
As for the the biggest shiners, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) gained over 3.8 per cent ahead of results being released, a2 Milk Company lifted over 5 per cent and Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE) gained 3.7 per cent after it announced a share buyback.
The Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) released its results today and its shares slipped in afternoon trade and led the big four banks lower.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.75 per cent higher or 44 points higher at 5,877. On the futures market the SPI is 53 points up.
The value of trades was $7.5 billion on volume of 1 billion 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 Westpac (ASX:WBC).
Local economic news
Construction activity rose more than expected in January, continuing its 12th straight month of growth. AIG’s Construction Index rose 1.5 points to a reading of 54.3 in January, outpacing last month’s growth and beating expectations it would lift to a reading of 54. Let’s remember readings above 50 indicate expansion in activity.
Mortgage insurance company Genworth (ASX:GMA) has reported its net profit after tax fell by 27 per cent on FY16 to $149.2 million in the 2017 financial year. The company’s revenue or net premiums also fell by 18 per cent. On a positive note, Genworth declared a fully franked dividend of 12 cents per share, with its total ordinary dividend for 2017 hitting 24 cents per share. And that represents a payout ratio of 70 per cent, a rise from 2016. Shares in Mortgage Insurance Company Genworth (ASX:GMA) closed 2.1 per cent lower at $2.74.
Investment house, Tribeca Investment Partners became a major shareholder in medical marijuana company, Cann Group (ASX:CAN) buying over five per cent in the firm. As a result, Cann Group shares sky rocketed 12.5 per cent higher at $2.80.
Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) reported a flat headline result with its net profit holding at $4.9 billion for the half year ending 31 December 2017. Meantime its revenue rose two per cent in the period to $21.2 billion. But some analysts say it was below expectations as the big four bank was affected by a $375 million AML and $200 million compliance provision.
Carsales.com (ASX:CAR) saw its net profit jump 27 per cent to $60.2 million for the half year ending December last year. Despite the strong result, its shares slid.
And dairy company Murray Goulburn co-operative (ASX:MGC) has reported a 53 per cent lift in its net profit after tax to $14.4 million for the first half of FY18 compared to the prior year.
ReadCloud (ASX:RCL) started trading today. The eLearning book provider for Australian secondary schools floated with an issue price of 20 cents, opened at 22.5 cents and closed at 27 cents.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was disrectionary adding 1.9 per cent to close at 2,309.
The worst performing sector was utilites, shedding 0.6 per cent to close at 7,656. points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX:GXY), rising 11.5 per cent to close at $3.21. Shares in Mineral Resources Limited (ASX:MIN) and Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX:PLS) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Seven West Media Limited (ASX:SWM), dropping 3.9 per cent to close at $0.50. Shares in Evolution Mining Limited (ASX:EVN) and St Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM) followed lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.95 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.5 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,330 an ounce.
Light crude has fallen $0.23 to $63.92 a barrell.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.80 US cents.
The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading higher.
Bitcoin has gained 18 per cent to $7,470
Tether has gained 1.5 per cent to $1.01
And Etherum has added 24 per cent to $751