Unemployment figures hit the mark: Aus shares close 0.6% higher

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock

The Australian share market experienced some volatility at the beginning of the session. We saw a strong rally off the back of trend unemployment data which met the consensus. The market managed to maintain momentum over the afternoon to finish 0.6 per cent higher. Every sector except Financials made some gains. Communications and Consumer Staples led the charge.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 37 points higher to finish at 6,735.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a loss of 24 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 3 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a loss of 5 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing rise of 49 points tomorrow morning.

Broker moves

Ord Minnett rates Experience Co (ASX:EXP) as a buy, but has reduced its 12-month price target to 31 cents. This follows another soft trading update for the first quarter with skydiving volumes down 10.4 per cent largely due to adverse weather conditions. Given the strategic review is underway the broker expects changes are already taking place. Shares in Experience Co (ASX:EXP) are trading 4.2 per cent lower at $0.23..

Macquarie rates BHP Group (ASX:BHP) as an outperform, and has increased its 12-month price target to $40.00. This upgrade is a result of Macquarie forecast being tweaked to include unsanctioned projects. Shares in BHP Group (ASX:BHP) are trading 0.1 per cent higher at $36.81.

Economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released Labour Force figures for October 2019. Australia's trend unemployment rate was 5.3 per cent. This follows an unemployment rate of 5.2 per cent in September and met the consensus figure the market was expecting.

Company news

Engineering company Monadelphous Group (ASX:MND) has acquired Chile-based construction and maintenance services contractor, Buildtek SpA and plant and equipment hire company, Maqrent SpA. Monadelphous acquired 75 per cent of the companies for approximately 9.5 million cash, with an option to purchase the remaining 25 per cent in three years’ time. Shares in Monadelphous Group (ASX:MND) are trading 0.8 per cent higher at $15.71.

Child care service provider, G8 Education (ASX:GEM) has inked a deal to sell 25 of its centres in Western Australia to Sparrow Early Learning for approximately $6.4 million.

The board of BHP Group (ASX:BHP) has appointed Mike Henry as Chief Executive Officer, replacing Andrew Mackenzie who will retire as CEO on 31 December 2019.

Gold exploration and development company, Vango Mining (ASX:VAN), has appointed Andrew Stocks as the Company’s new Managing Director effective from 20 January 2020.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Consumer Staples adding 2 per cent while the worst performing sector was Financials, shedding 0.1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Nearmap (ASX:NEA), rising 14.1 per cent to close at $2.84. Shares in Afterpay Touch Group (ASX:APT) and Nanosonics (ASX:NAN) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was G8 Education (ASX:GEM), dropping 17.8 per cent to close at $2.13. Shares in Avita Medical (ASX:AVH) and Costa Group (ASX:CGC) followed lower.

Asian markets

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

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,464 an ounce.
Iron ore price is down at US$81.03.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.8 per cent.
Light crude is 24 cents higher at US$57.44 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 67.97 US cents.