Starting in the green: Aus shares close 0.2% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market started the week in green but lost some steam throughout the session but managed to hang onto a gain of 0.2 per cent with the S&P/ASX 200 index closing 12 points higher 5,841, still in the same territory as October 2017.

Most sectors made gains today with utilities, energy and the mining sectors leading the way. AGL (ASX:AGL) rose 1.7 per cent while the commodities rallied after we had a lift in commodity prices, with aluminium jumping 5 per cent, alumina rising by 17 per cent and iron ore up 0.8 per cent at $64.96.

The big four banks saw mixed results amid the royal commission today hearing about financial adviser misconduct with CBA (ASX:CBA) falling the most.

Futures

The Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 113 points up.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 5 point gain.

Value of trades

$4.1 billion on volume of 522 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) and South32 (ASX:S32).

Local economic news

Housing finance excluding alterations and additions rose by 1.3 per cent in February while commercial and lease finance fell over 2 per cent when compared to January in seasonally adjusted terms.

Company news 

Air New Zealand (ASX:AIZ) says it’s working closely with engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce on a global issue with some of the engines that power its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet. The issue required operators to carry out earlier than usual maintenance checks on a specific part of the engine compressor. Air New Zealand says the issue will not materially impact FY18 earnings and previous guidance remains unchanged. As for AIZ shares closed 1.3 per cent lower at $3.16.

Asset manager, Blue Sky Alternative Investments (ASX:BLA) has announced an independent review of the company’s processes and financial reporting. It also downgraded its 2018 financial year net profit (NPAT) guidance from around $35 million to $20-$25 million.

Renewable energy company Infigen (ASX:IFN) says Brookfield Asset Management currently has no intention of making a takeover bid for the company, but reserved the right to alter its view in the future. Infigen made the announcement following a meeting with Brookfield after the asset manager recent snapped up 9 per cent of Infigen’s shares.

The a2 Milk Company (ASX:A2M) has expanded its Asian foot print and entered the South Korean market. It comes as it inked an exclusive sales and distribution agreement with Yuhan Corporation to promote and distribute its a2MC’s branded products in South Korea.

Wealth management platform, OneVue Holdings (ASX:OVH) completed the purchase of KPMG’s superannuation member admin business for $6.5 million, which will make it the fourth largest superannuation member administrator in the market. The purchase will also catapult OneVue’s funds under administration to over $4 million

IPOs,

Tao Commodities (ASX:TAO) started trading today. The company identifies, develops, and acquires mineral exploration projects. It floated with an issue price of 20 cents, opened at 24 cents and closed 24 cents

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was utilities adding 1.5 per cent to close at 7,431.
The worst performing sector was financials, shedding 0.2 per cent to close at 6,086. points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Western Areas (ASX:WSA), rising 4.2 per cent to close at $3.48. Shares in South32 (ASX:S32) and Mayne Pharma Group (ASX:MYX) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Seven West Media (ASX:SWM), dropping 10.3 per cent to close at $0.52. Shares in Perpetual (ASX:PPT) and Webjet (ASX:WEB) followed lower.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 1.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 1.7 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 2.3 per cent
Gold is trading at $US1,345 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.31 up at $US67.33 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.75 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin US$8,046, Ethereum trades at US$507 and Ripple trades at US$0.65.