Positive day for miners: Aus shares close 0.6% higher

Market Reports

by Kathy Skantzos

It’s been a positive day on the ASX after a rebound on Wall Street overnight. The market closed 0.6 per cent higher.

Utilities, info technology, materials and healthcare lead the gains. The mining companies rallied, with solid gains seen from lithium miner Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), as well as Orocobre (ASX:ORE), Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) and Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN). The Energy sector fell into the red, with losses in Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) and Woodside (ASX:WPL).

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 35 points up, or 0.6 per cent higher to finish at 5,856.

On the futures market the SPI is 63 points up.

The value of trades was $5.6 billion on volume of 802 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 Westpac (ASX:WBC).

Local economic news

NAB reports business confidence has reached a nine-month high in January, indicating that business is booming. The index increased 2 points to 12 points, the highest level since April 2017.

Company news

Investment company Carlton Investments (ASX:CIN) has reported its net profit has increased 5.5 per cent for the half year to FY2018 to nearly $22.4 million. Operating revenue increased for the half year by 5.9 per cent. The company is paying an interim dividend of 51 cents per share, an increase of 3 cents per share, which will be paid on 20 March 2018. Shares in Carlton Investments (ASX:CIN) closed 0.03 per cent higher at $33.18.

Computer wholesaler Dicker Data (ASX:DDR) has declared a final dividend for the 2017 financial year of 4.8 cents a share, fully franked, which brings its FY17 final dividend to 16.8 cents a share, an 85 per cent increase from the previous year. The company recorded unaudited revenue of $1.3 billion, up 10.2 per cent compared to the same period last year, and pre-tax profit of $40 million, up 9.9 per cent on the previous year. Final FY17 results expected to be released on 28 February 2018. Shares in Dicker Data (ASX:DDR) closed 2 per cent higher at $3.

Transurban Group (ASX:TCL) has reported a 280 per cent rise in profit from ordinary activities after tax to $331 million for the first half of this financial year.

Multinational building and construction company Boral Limited (ASX:BLD) has reported its net profit attributable to its members rose thirteen per cent to $173 million.

Fleet Management company SG Fleet Group (ASX:SGF) has reported an 19 per cent rise in net profit after tax to $32 million for the first half of this financial year compared to the same time last year.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Utilities adding 2.1 per cent to close at 7,451.
The worst performing sector was Energy, shedding 0.2 per cent to close at 10,172. points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), rising 9.4 per cent to close at $0.87. Shares in Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) and Orocobre (ASX:ORE) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Fairfax Media (ASX:FXJ), dropping 3 per cent to close at $0.65. Shares in Myer (ASX:MYR) and Iron Mountain (ASX:INM) also closed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,327 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.16 up at $US59.15 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.69 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has gained 1.65 per cent in the last 24 hours to $8,646.
Tether has fallen about 0.4 per cent to around $1.00.
Ethereum has fallen about 0.2 per cent to $845.

Kathy Skantzos

Finance News Network
Kathy presents the Market Outlook and ASX company news. She joined FNN in September 2017. She has been in print and online journalism for over 9 years. She also worked in corporate communications.