The Australian share market had another volatile day of trade, temporarily starting in the black and continuing to fall throughout the session, until after 3.30pm, when the local bourse galloped back to the black.
It comes as the mining sector started to strengthen, as concerns began to ease after a Brazilian court ruled Vale SA to restart a iron ore mine that was closed after a dam burst in late January, killing 300 people. The court ruling saw the iron ore price fall over 3 per cent overnight, but the commodity price has seen a massive rally, with iron ore (62% CFR China) price rising 10 per cent in January and 8 per cent in February.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.03 per cent higher or 2 points higher at 6,167 points.
Dow futures are suggesting a gain of 26 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 3 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a gain of 19 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 6 point fall tomorrow morning
The national unemployment rate surprising fell from 5 per cent to 4.9 per cent in February (in seasonally adjusted terms). The market had been expecting the jobless rate to remain steady at 5 per cent. Total employed people increased by 4,600 in the second month of the year.
QANTM Intellectual Property (ASX:QIP) has welcomed the announcement today that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will not oppose the proposed merger between QANTM and Xenith IP Group (ASX:XIP). The ACCC is also reviewing Australia's largest supplier of IP services, IPH’s (ASX:IPH) proposal to acquire 100 per cent of Xenith, which Xenith rejected earlier this week. Shares in QANTM Intellectual Property (ASX:QIP) gained 1.1 per cent today, closing at $1.43.
Global education provider Navitas (ASX:NVT) will receive a one-off $5 million contribution to its full-year FY19 profit after SAE UK won an appeal in Supreme Court that enables SAE UK to claim a tax exemption status, which enables private for-profit education providers to be on a level playing field with public education providers in the UK.
WorleyParsons (ASX:WOR) has received its final regulatory tick of approval to purchase Jacobs energy chemical and resources (ECR) division. It comes as it received clearance from the committee on foreign investment in the US. It's anticipated the transaction will occur by the end of April 2019. It closed 1.7 per cent higher.
Wholesale and distribution business to pharmacies, Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) has reported its NPAT fell 33.1 per cent in FY19 to $37 million, while its underlying results were ahead of its last guidance report. And amid the businesses transformation program, Accenture found $100 million in efficiency gains over the next two years. Sigma will also not extend its MyChemist/Chemist Warehouse service contract from June 2019. It closed almost 1 per cent lower.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was S&P/ASX Materials adding 0.97 per cent while the worst performing sector was S&P/ASX Utilities, shedding 0.4per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Nufarm Limited (ASX:NUF), rising 6.2 per cent to close at $4.49. Shares in Speedcast International Limited (ASX:SDA) and Ardent Leisure Group Limited (ASX:ALG) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX), dropping 12.1 per cent to close at $0.73, after Eclipx shares plunged 56 per cent yesterday. It comes as multinational salary packaging firm McMillan Shakespeare (ASX:MMS) called off the takeover of Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX) after Eclipx reported its net profit fell 42 per for the first five months of FY19, despite expecting single-digit growth. Shares in Pact Group Holdings Ltd (ASX:PGH) and Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (ASX:FLT) followed lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.6 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,319 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 3.4 per cent to US$84.30
Light crude is $0.70 up at US$59.99 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.45 US cents.