The Australian share market is paving its way for its fifth day of straight gains with the mining sector leading over half of the sectors higher. It comes as the commodity prices are seeing a strong rally with iron ore price up 2 per cent at US$65.88 per tonne while its futures price is pointing to a gain of over 4 per cent.
The price of alumina lifted over 16 per cent while nickel lifted over 7 per cent. Alumina (ASX:AWC) is about 8 per cent higher, while lithium players like Orocbore (ASX:ORE) are shining up over 6 per cnet.
BHP (ASX:BHP) trades over 2.5 per cent higher after it reported its nine month results through to March end, saying it’s on track to achieve 6 per cent volume growth for this financial year, despite the giant reducing its iron ore production guidance.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.54 per cent higher or 32 points up at 5,893. On the futures market the SPI is 34 points higher.
The workforce participation rate has hit an all-time high, 65.7 per cent in March (in trend terms), according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Meantime the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 5.5 per cent after the February figures was revised down. Over the past year, Queensland saw the strongest annual growth in trend employment, followed by the ACT and then New South Wales.
Alumina (ASX:AWC) has reported its JV with the NYSE listed Alcoa has seen a lift in its bauxite and alumina business earnings. The bauxite division reported a 37 per cent lift in earnings before interest tax and depreciation (EBITDA) in the first quarter of 2018 and a 29 per cent lift in the alumina segment’s EBITDA. As for the fourth quarter of 2017, both segments reported an EBITDA margin of over 30 per cent. Shares in Alumina (ASX:AWC) are trading 8 per cent higher at $2.89
Meantime, Murray Goulburn (ASX:MGC) announced its CEO Ari Mervis and Chief Financial Officer David Mallinson will leave the group on 1 May 2018 once the proposed sale of all of its operating assets and liabilities to Saputo has been completed. This follows the Foreign Investment Review Board approving the sale of Murray Goulburn (ASX:MGC) to Saputo. Amy Alston will also leave her role as company secretary. Murray Goulburnshares are trading at $0.95.
Adelaide Brighton (ASX:ABC) has inked a contract with BHP (ASX:BHP) to continue to supply cement and lime to the mining giant’s Olympic Dam Mine in South Australia. The cement manufacturing company did not state the value of the contract but says its on similar terms to those that the parties have held for many years. Both companies also expect their relationship to continue for may years. Adelaide Brighton (ASX:ABC) shares are trading 0.8 per cent higher at $6.32.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector Materials adding 2.4per cent to 11,943 points while the worst performing sector is Telcos shedding 0.3 per cent to 1,133 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Alumina (ASX:AWC), rising 8 per cent to $2.89, followed by shares in Independence Group Nl (ASX:IGO) and Western Areas Limited (ASX:WSA).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Wisetech Global Limited (ASX:WTC), dropping 4.3 per cent to $10.39, followed by shares in NEXTDC Limited (ASX:NXT) and Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (ASX:API).
Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.7 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.9 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.7 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,349 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.68 US cents.
Bitcoin trades at US$8,186, Ethereum at US$531 and Ripple trades 9 per cent higher at US$0.72.