The local share market has continued its January bull run, rising for the third straight day, taking the main index 5.3 per cent higher on the month, despite only a hand full of sectors pulling the market higher today.
Earlier in the session, the local bourse hit a new two-month high, however, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell into the red after 1pm and then managed to claw back, and finish with the gain of 15 points/ 0.3 per cent at 5,850 points.
Overnight in the US, we had positive Wall Street leads after Goldman Sachs shares hit a 10-year high on quarterly earnings, while the Bank of America charged up over 7 per cent on its record quarterly profit.
Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 58 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 8 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing fall of 17 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 9 point rise tomorrow morning
New Home Loans fell 0.9 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms in November, beating the 1.5 per cent fall expected. It comes after loans rose in October.
BHP (ASX:BHP) spin off, South32 (ASX:S32) issued its December quarter results and has maintained its full year guidance for all operations, and increased its Illawarra Metallurgical Coal estimate by seven per cent on its prior estimate. It also saw record production at Australia Manganese. South32 also announced Katie Tovich will succeed Brendan Harris as Chief Financial Officer from May this year. S32 shares gained 3.6 per cent, hitting $3.45.
Coal mining major, Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) gained 3.7 per cent after reported a record report card for the December quarter with the producer also saying its on track to meet full-year production guidance of 22.0Mt to 23Mt of saleable coal. It hit record sales in December and quarterly ROM coal production of 7.4 Mt (Megatones).
Lithium play, Orocobre (ASX:ORE) reported production soared 65 per cent quarter on quarter (to 3,782 tonnes of lithium carbonate) in the December quarter and also achieved its second-best quarter of production at Olaroz in Argentina. It comes after it also achieved a 41 per cent rise in sales in December.
Alumina Limited (ASX:AWC) saw a 3.1 per cent lift in its shares after announcing that its partly owned Alcoa Corp (“Alcoa”) saw a drop in the cost of production and higher shipments, which resulted in an increase in its earnings (EBITDA) in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was Consumer Staples adding 0.8 per cent, followed by Energy, with the oil price trading at one month high, while the worst performing sector was Utilities, shedding 1.1 per cent, followed by Consumer Discretionary, losing 0.3 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC), rising 3.7 per cent to close at $4.71. Shares in The A2 Milk Company (ASX:A2M) and South32 (ASX:S32) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Syrah Resources (ASX: SYR), dropping 5.7 per cent to close at $1.92. Shares in Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN) and Ooh!Media Limited (ASX:OHL) followed lower.
Mixed:Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.5 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,292 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 0.7 per cent US$74.31
Iron ore futures are pointing to a gain of 0.1 per cent.
Light crude is $0.38 up at US$52.61 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.54 US cents.