The Australian share market snapped its three-day losing streak today, closed higher with the S&P/ASX 200 index adding 29 points, or a gain of 0.5 per cent finishing at 5,949. But it wasn’t enough to shake off our fall of 14 points for the week. Or a fall of 0.2 per cent over the past five trading days.
From the outset today, we had some positive leads to follow with the Dow Jones closing higher, while the iron ore price gained further momentum, trading above $72 a tonne.
As for the sectors, staples shone today, leading most of the sectors higher. It comes as comes as Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) shares gained over 6 per cent after it announced plans to spin off Coles. Miners also shone with South32 (ASX:S32) rising over 5 per cent and Syrah Resources following. The only sector that held us back today, financials as investors await the outcome of the banking Royal Commission.
Dow, S&P and Nasaq futures all lower. Dow is down 26 points.
ASX futures are suggesting a rise of 24 points.
Value of trades
$8.3 billion on volume of 1.2 billion shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Wesfarmers (ASX:WES), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Xero (ASX:XRO).
Premier Investments (ASX:PMV) one of today’s biggest risers reported a 9 per cent rise in half year profits and revenues for the period ending 27 January 2018. It’s the owner of Just Jeans, Portmans, Peter Alexander, Jay Jays, Smiggle and Jacqui-E, just to name a few. It also declared an interim dividend of 29 cents per share, a rise from its previous interim dividend of 26 cents. Its online business, now also expects to deliver $100 million in annual sales, two-year years ahead of its original 2020 plan. Its shares gained 6.1 per cent to $15.27.
Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) announced its intentions to demerge Coles, creating a new top 30 ASX listed company. If approved the demerger it would be completed next financial year and shareholders will receive new shares in Coles, proportionate to their existing shareholders, while Wesfarmers will retain a minority ownership interest, up to 20 per cent in the company. What is also important to note, at the end of last year, Coles accounted for 34 per cent of the Wesfarmers earnings. The demerger is subject to final board, regulatory and shareholder approval. The new powerhouse will be led by Steven Cain as managing director, succeeding John Durkan who will step down later this year. Steven Cain was the CEO of Supermarkets and Convenience at Metcash (ASX:MTS).
Metcash (ASX:MTS) annouced Steven Cain resigned from his role with the firm today. Metcash Supermarkets and Convenience CEO will now be Scott Marsh.
Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) shares are at a five day high, moving back up towards its 50 day moving average. Today it informed shareholders one of its non-executive directors, Ann Godbehere is being potentially added to the board of Royal Dutch Shell. If approved, she will step up to board of the British–Dutch multinational at its AGM in May (23 May 2018).
And pharmaceutical company Mayne Pharma (ASX:MYX) is set to launch doxycycline in the US. The pills are a generic alternative to Monodox, an antibacterial treatment of infections including severe acne.
Copper-gold company, Eagle Mountain Mining (ASX:EM2) started trading today. It floated with an issue price of 20 cents, opened at 30 cents and closed at 34 cents.
Trimantium GrowthOps (ASX:TGO) listed today. The entrepreneurial firm partners with businesses to help them grow. The company raised $70 million, making it one of the largest tech IPOs of late. It floated with an issue price of $1.00, opened at $1.10 and its trading at $1.22.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was staples adding 2.6 per cent to close at 10,497. The worst performing sector was financials shedding 0.4 per cent to close at 7,038. points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Wesfarmers (ASX:WES), rising 6.3 per cent to close at $43.80. Shares in Premier Investments (ASX:PMV) and South32 (ASX:S32) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Metcash (ASX: MTS), dropping 5.4 per cent to close at $3.00. Shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Mayne Pharma Group (ASX:MYX) followed lower.
Tracking lower: Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.7 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.1 per cent.
Wrapped up the four trading days this week lower: The Dow Jones lost 1.9 per cent, The S&P 500 lost 1.4 per cent and the tech heavy Nasdaq lost 1.1 per cent, while the 100 index lost 1 per centl
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,317 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.27 up at $US61.24 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.93 US cents.
To some of most traded cryptocurrencies, which are trading higher: Bitcoin has gained 4 per cent to US$8,231, Ethereum gained about 4 per cent to US$608 and Ripple has gained about 7 per cent to US$0.70.