Resilient start for week: Aus shares close 0.34 per cent higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The ASX started the week on bumpy grounds but managed to hang on and finished higher. The ASX200 shook off lacklustre leads from Wall Street’s three major indices closing in over 2 per cent lower, while the oil price fell at the weekend too. But by afternoon, most of the sectors were making gains, with health stocks shining, with the likes Cochlear (ASX:COH) rising 1.9 per cent. In the staples space, Treasury Wines (ASX:TWE) guzzled up some more gains and headed back to all time highs.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 20 points up, or 0.34 per cent higherto finish at 5,809.

On the futures market the Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 152 points up.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 22 point gain.

The value of trades was $4.1 billion on volume of 552 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were AMP (ASX:AMP), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), ANZ (ASX:ANZ).

Economic news

Construction activity grew slightly in March, for the 14th straight consecutive month, rising to a reading of 57.2 up from 56, also smashing through expectations it would grew to a reading of just 55.7.

Company news 

Tawana Resources (ASX:TAW) raised $20 million by issuing new shares at $0.41 per share, to advance its Bald Hill lithium and tantalum mine in WA, by ramping up operations for production. Tawana issues about 48.8 million shares and also plans to raise another $5 million through institutional investors. Canaccord is acting as the lead broker.
Shares in Tawana Resources (ASX:TAW) closed 7.7 per cent lower at $0.42.

Asset manager Blue Sky Alternative Investments (ASX:BLA) advised shareholders it had been attacked by a foreign activist short seller over the last 10 days. Despite the sell off the company says it is in good shape with an exceptionally strong balance sheet. Plus its funds are closed ended, so they are not at risk of redemption requests.

Atlas Iron (ASX:AGO) shares gained over 42 per cent higher today, making it one of the best performing stocks after multibillion dollar WA mining company, Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) entered into a binding deal to snap up all of Atas’ shares at a premium of 59 per cent. Atlas directors are recommending shareholders vote in favour of the proposal, which will see Atlas become a wholly owned subsidiary of Mineral Resources if it goes ahead.

Macquarie Atlas Roads (ASX:MQA) announced plans to internalise management, being on look out for a new CEO and renaming itself Atlas Arteria.

Oil and gas company, AWE (ASX:AWE) has entered into a farm out agreement in a New Zealand exploration permit onshore Taranaki Basin.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was health adding 1.2 per cent to close at 26,489.
The worst performing sector was energy, shedding 0.4 per cent to close at 10,351 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Alumina (ASX:AWC), rising 6.3 per cent to close at $2.54. Shares in IPH (ASX:PH) and Macquarie Atlas Roads Group (ASX:MQA) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN), dropping 6.9 per cent to close at $16.05. Shares in Western Areas (ASX:WSA) and Monadelphous Group (ASX:MND) followed lower.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.1 per cent.

To commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,332 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.48 lower at $US62.06 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.94 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin is trading at US$7,122, Ethereum is trading at US$411 and TRON trades at US$0.04.