The Australian share finished slightly lower, but about 1.2 per cent up the week. At the open we rallied, extending yesterday’s gains but lost momentum on the back of weaker than expected company results.
Just under half to the sectors pushed forth with industrial stocks like Virgin Australia (ASX:VAH) gaining over 4 per cent and Sydney Airports (ASX:SYD) rising 2.5 per cent. Health stocks also had a health injection seeing some of the biggest gains in the top 200, with Healthscope (ASX:HSO) gaining over 6 per cent and Primary Health Care (ASX:PRY) rising over 3 per cent on the back of a lift in profits and revenues for the half years.
Gains were capped by falls in over half our sectors with the consumer discretionary space falling the most. The likes of Star Entertainment (ASX:SGR) fell over 6 per cent after it reported a 77 per cent dive in profits in the half year. South32 (ASX:S32) led the miners lower after it reported yesterday, with its net profit falling 12 per cent in 1H18.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 5 points lower, or 0.07 per cent lower at 5,904. Over the week we gained 66 points or 1.2 per cent.
On the futures market the SPI is 7 points lower. And turning to US futures, the Dow is eyeing a lift of 43 points.
The value of trades was $5 billion on volume of 714 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Amcor (ASX:AMC), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA).
Fortescue Metals’ (ASX:FMG) billion opportunities program has hit $2 billion in contracts and sub-contracts to Aboriginal business and joint ventures. Its initiative was brought in 2011 to promote sustainability and has since awarded 250 contracts to and sub-contracts to worth $2 billion to 110 Aboriginal businesses. Shares Fortescue Metals’ (ASX:FMG) closed 0.7 per cent lower at $5.35
Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) says it is committed to providing a domestic power solution for Mongolia’s Oyu Tolgoi mine. Rio says it will cost $250 million to develop the power station in Mongolia, as it laid out in its capex forecast for 2019 to 2020. The mining giant also announced today that it has appointed Moya Greene who is the CEO of the Royal Mail Group as an independent non-executive director. It comes as a non-executive director who has been with the board since 2007, Paul Tellier will step down after the company AGM on 2 May 2018. Shares in Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed 0.5 per cent higher at $82.48.
Insurance comparison website, iSelect, (ASX:ISU) has seen its attributable profit slump to $500,0000 in the six months to December from $2.6 million in the first half of 2017, and its revenue strengthened in the half-year, rising 7 per cent. Despite this, it still has no debt and over $34 million in cash.
Diagnostic imaging centre company, Primary Health Care (ASX:PRY) reported a 5 per cent rise in profits (attributable to members) rising to $22 million in half year December while it revenues lifted 6 per cent with its pathology division rising the most.
And Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) reported its first-half net profit rose by about 63 per cent to $257 million thanks to coal prices and higher output. Its earnings rose by over 40 per cent while its debt was dropped.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was industrials adding 0.9 per cent to close at 5,604. The worst performing sector was discretionary, shedding 0.8 per cent to close at 2,236. points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Healthscope (ASX:HSO), rising 6.5 per cent to close at $01.90. Shares in Lynas Corporation (ASX:LYC) and Breville Group (ASX:BRG) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was The Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR), dropping 6.3 per cent to close at $5.67. Shares in IPH (ASX:IPH) and South32 (ASX:S32) followed lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has added 1.21 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is not trading for Chinese new year and Shanghai Composite is also not trading.
Wall Street wrapped up the four trading days this week higher: The Dow Jones added 4 per cent, The S&P 500 added 4.1 per cent and the tech heavy Nasdaq gained 5.3 per cent, while the 100 index added 5.6 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,359 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.77 up at $US61.28 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 79.7 US cents.
The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading mostly higher: Bitcoin has gained 4 per cent to US$10,095, Tether is almost flat to US$1, and Ethereum has lost about 0.6 per cent to US$931.