Extending two weeks of gains: Aus shares close 0.5% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Aussie share market started the trading week with a gain of 0.5 per cent extending last week’s gains 1.4 per cent and the prior week's gains of 1.4 per cent as well.  

We rose at the open despite mixed Wall Street leads, and most of our ASX sectors made gains today, with property rising the most after Stockland Group (ASX:SGP) rose over 3 per cent on stronger forecasts.

Iron price fell 0.9 per cent to US$65.68 and the Aussie dollar weakened which saw the likes of BHP (ASX:BHP) lose steam, while lithium players like Galaxy (ASX:GXY) soared over 6 per cent higher after announcing it's in talks about offtake and strategic partnership opportunities. The likes of Orocobre (ASX:ORE) and Pilbara (ASX:PLS) and also boded well, up over 3 per cent.

Also helping us maintain gains in the afternoon, the Dow futures have been up, and are pointing to a gain of 68 points when the US markets open this evening. 

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 29 points lower, or 0.49 per cent lower to finish at 5,939.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was REITs or property, adding 1.8 per cent, the worst performing sector materials, shedding 0.1 per cent.

The best performing stocks in the S&P/ASX 200 were led by Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY), rising 6.3 per cent to close at $3.06. Shares in Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) and Boral (ASX:BLD) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in S&P/ASX 200 were led Domino's Pizza Enterprises (ASX:DMP), dropping 3.9 per cent to close at $42.17 Shares in Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) and Sandfire Resources Nl (ASX:SFR) followed lower.

Value of trades 

The top three stocks by value were Westpac (ASX:WBC), ANZ (ASX:ANZ) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA). The value of trades was $6.6 billion on volume of 786 million.

Company news

Large scale manufacturing company, Titomic (ASX:TTT) has appointed a global heavyweight’s executive, Gilbert Michaca as its new CEO to expand the company globally. Gilbert worked with Siemens for 14 years and also has experience helping companies take Australian technology around the world. He most recently working as CEO of a defence, environmental and medical tech company, Grey Innovations. Shares in Titomic (ASX:TTT) closed 2 per cent higher at $1.53

Stockland Group (ASX:SGP) shares gained 3.2 per cent after it advised its on track to achieved its guidance with funds from operations to grow by 5 to 6.5 per cent on the full year, plus pay a distribution 4 per cent higher than FY17

AMP (ASX:AMP) has announced Chairman Catherine Brenner will step down from the board effective immediately with Mike Wilkins being appointed as executive chair of the financial services company, effective immediately.

Engineering company, Worley Parsons (ASX:WOR) together with its joint venture partner Special Technical Services (STS) have won a 5-year contract from BP Oman to provide services to the BP Khazzan facility..

Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) has announced its March quarter sales were down 9 per cent on the December quarter while its production over the last 9 months rose 14 per cent on the same time last year.

IPOs

Microequities Asset Management Group (ASX:MAM) started trading today with the fund manager issuing shares at a price of 80 cents, opening at 85 cents and closing at 75 cents.

Asian markets 

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1.5 per cent and Japan’s Nikkei and Shanghai Composite are not trading due to public holidays.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is at $US1,319 an ounce.
Light crude is trading at $US68.10 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.61 US cents.

Bitcoin

The Bitcoin price is US$9,318