New tariff worries cap gains: Aus shares close flat on Friday

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

It has been a bumpy last day of trade for the ASX 200. From the outset sentiment was weak after US President Donald Trump proposed $100 billion of new tariffs on Chinese products. The index broke above the line early afternoon, but finished flat at 5,789. Over the week we gained 29 points or 0.5 per cent.

Energy players like Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) and Woodside (ASX:WPL) gained over 1 per cent. And Miners finished in the black too with the iron ore price holding steady after losing about 20 per cent of gains over the past month. But it was the lithium players that shone the brightest today, with Orocobre (ASX:ORE) clawing back some losses after it advised yesterday production fell .

Fintech company, Novatti Group (ASX:NOV) as its shares lifted about 32 per cent today after it launched its chinapayments.com payments platform, the first in Australia to allow consumers to pay Australian BPAY bills using Alipay

Futures

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 283 points up.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 3 point fall.

Value of trades
$4.1 billion on volume of 523 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 ANZ (ASX:ANZ).

Company news 

CBA (ASX:CBA) increased its majority shareholding in agribusiness supplier Elders (ASX:ELD) to 5.06 per cent. Elders shares closed 0.8 per cent lower at $7.71.

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has announced an interim dividend of US180 cents per share for the full year ending 31 December 2017, with Rio Tinto shareholders to be paid 228.53 Australian cents per ordinary share.

Austal (ASX:ASB) has been awarded a US$10 million US Navy contract for service work on a Littoral Combat Ship.

Wattle Health (ASX:WHA) hit sales of $804,400 in the march quarter, 121 per cent of the total sales it received for the 6 months to December end. The company is requesting to enter suspension at the request of the company, pending the release of an announcement about finalising its JV with Organic Dairy Farmers of Australia. The company also flagged a potential capital raise.

Woolworths (ASX:WOW) shares bounced off their one month low, after the company wrote to shareholders today advising the dividend per share is up 26.5 per cent compared to the half year 2017, to 43 cents. It also told shareholders it made good progress with its transformation.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was energy adding 0.6 per cent to close at 10,396.
The worst performing sector was healthcare, shedding 0.5 per cent to close at 26,172. points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Orocobre (ASX:ORE), rising 6 per cent to close at $5.01. Shares in Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) and APN Outdoor Group Limited (ASX:APO) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Retail Food Group Limited (ASX: RFG), dropping 3.8 per cent to close at $0.90. Shares in Altium Limited (ASX:ALU) and Boral (ASX:BLD) Followed Lower.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.9 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is flat.

Wall Street wrapped up the four trading days higher this week 

The Dow Jones added 1.6 per cent, The S&P 500 added 0.8 per cent and the tech heavy Nasdaq gained 0.2 per cent, while the 100 index added 0.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,327 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.36 up at $US63.73 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.75 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin 0.8 per cent lower to US$6,786, TRON is 17 per cent higher to US$0.04 and Ethereum shed about 0.8 per cent to US$378.