ASX shrugs off weaker than expected property data, Fed meets: Aus shares close 0.6% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The local share market continued to muster up today, wiping out yesterday’s fall and finished 0.6 per cent higher, at a fresh high of 6,570 points. It comes as all of the ASX sectors ended on a high with four sectors gaining over 1 per cent. Property and Healthcare darting out in front as today’s best performing sectors, overtaking the tech sector’s rally.

Afterpay (ASX:APT) shares started to rebound after AML concerns seem to have eased and investors began to buy up the stock again after several directors sold down some of the holdings, to US investors.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 39 points higher to finish at 6,570 points.

From the outset we had positive leads after Wall Street closed in the black, with the Nasdaq up the most and the S&P 500 and Dow sitting on the fence ahead of the Fed Reserve meeting kicking off later on Tuesday (ET time).

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 12 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 2 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a lift of 2 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 30 point rise tomorrow.

Economic news

Residential property prices fell 3 per cent in the March quarter 2019, according to fresh data released from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and that was more than 2.5 per cent drop expected.

All capital cities saw falls in property prices in the quarter 2019, with the larger property falls in Sydney (-3.9 per cent) and Melbourne (-3.8 per cent).

The mean price of dwellings has fallen over the last five consecutive quarters, from $689,700 in the December quarter 2017 to $636,900.

Company news

Charter Hall (ASX:CHC) has declared a distribution of 17.2 cents per security for the half year to 30 June 2019. That means its total distribution payout for the FY19 (33.7 cents per share) is 6 per cent higher than FY18s. Shares in Charter Hall (ASX:CHC) closed 0.8 per cent higher at $11.43.

Coles (ASX:COL) has flagged around $1 billion of cost cuts by FY23 and its shares rose 3.5 per cent. Aside from slashing costs Coles says it will optimise its store network and increase sustainability, as part of its structural overhaul following its $20 billion demerger from Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) last year.

Travel business Webjet (ASX:WEB) share gained 2.8 per cent after it unveiled its two recent block chain innovations, Rezchain and Rezpayments. Rezchain is the first workable blockchain technology in the travel industry and Webjet will use it to reduce costs and increase its competitive edge.

BlueScope Steel (ASX:BSL) shares slipped 1.2 per cent after it lowered its 2019 financial year underlying earnings (EBIT) guidance to $1.35 billion, which is 6 per cent higher than the same time last year, however is below its previous guidance, which indicated a 10 per cent rise on FY18.

Best and worst performers of the day

All the sectors gained today. The best performing sector was S&P/ASX A-REIT adding 1.6 per cent while the weakest sector was Materials, gaining 0.1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was imaging Nearmap Ltd (ASX:NEA), rising 9.5 per cent to close at $4.04. Shares in Emeco Holdings Limited (ASX:EHL) and Afterpay Touch Group Limited (ASX:APT) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Speedcast International Limited (ASX:SDA),dropping 8.4 per cent to close at $3.38. Shares in Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX:PLS) and Mcmillan Shakespeare Limited (ASX:MMS) followed lower, with Citi dropping McMillan Shakespeare’s (ASX:MMS), 12-month price target by 4 per cent from $16.82 to $16.07 after McMillan downgraded its FY19 earnings on softness in its novated leasing and salary packaging business.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.8 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 0.9 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,346 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 1.9 per cent to US$108.21 but it’s still holding multi year highs.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.1 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.60 lower at US$52.17 a barrel.
The Australian dollar has lost strength and is buying 68.40 US cents.