The Australian share market kicked off the trading week higher, with the ASX200 gaining for the past three weeks.
We had positive leads from the get-go, as Wall Street closed higher on Friday following a tech rally. All ASX sectors are trading higher with energy stocks leading, and strong gains also being made among the discretionary players, miners, and industrials.
Westpac (ASX:WBC) shares which rose over 1.6 per cent after reporting a 7 per cent jump in its net profit for the six months ending March 2018. According to UBS its results were 2 per cent ahead of expectations. Despite that, UBS has still marked the stocks as a sell. But other brokers say that will change.
Orica (ASX:ORI) also reported this morning and its results disappointed traders, despite announcing a lower first half 2018 that was ‘in line with guidance’, with a 37 per cent slump in its net profit after tax. It trades 7.3 per cent lower.
Iron ore price fell 0.9 per cent to US$66.28 and its futures are pointing to a rise 0.9 per cent drop. Despite that, we are seeing the heavy weights like BHP (ASX:BHP) gain about 1.5 per cent and Fortescue (ASX:FMG) follow.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 32 points up at 6095. On the futures market the SPI is eyeing a gain of 16 points
Local economic news
Non-residential construction grew for the 15th consecutive month in April, according to the Australian Industry Group (AIG). Despite the consistent growth, the index fell slightly from 57.2 to 55.4, just missing economist expectations of 55.5. But, a reading above 50, indicates the industry is still growing.
The Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) has announced ratings agency Fitch has affirmed its long-term issuer default rating (IDR) at double A negative (AA-), but has revised its outlook from stable to negative. The long term IDR outlook has been adjusted to negative to reflect CBA’s risks in remediating shortcomings in operational risk controls and governance.
Shares in CBA are trading 0.3 per cent higher at $72.99.
Sirtex Medical (ASX:SRX) has postponed the scheme meeting to vote on the proposed takeover of the company by Varian Medical Systems. The Sirtex board has unanimously recommended shareholders vote in favour of the $1.6 billion takeover offer from the US medical giant. The new date for the meeting is yet to be set. Shares in Sirtex (ASX:SRX) are trading 1 per cent lower at $29.12.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is energy adding 0.9 per cent higher 11 288. While the worst performing sector is utilities, gaining 0.07 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Lynas Corporation (ASX: LYC), rising 3.3 per cent to $2.85, followed by shares in Seven West Media(ASX:SWM) and Saracen Mineral (ASX:SAR).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Orica (ASX:ORI), dropping 7.3 per cent to $18.81, followed by shares in Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) and Sims Metal Management (ASX:SGM).
Japan’s Nikkei haslost 0.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.1 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,318 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.36 US cents.
Cryptocurrencies are all trading lower with Bitcoin trading at US$9366, while Ethereum has fallen about 8.3 per cent to US$761.