Facebook news content block removed: ASX closes 0.9% higher

Market Reports

by Michael Luu

Social media giant Facebook has agreed to lift its ban on Australian news content. Mark Zuckerberg’s social network is back to the negotiating table with Australian news outlets, following the Australian government’s agreement to amend the mandatory digital bargaining code. The news bolstered share prices of news organisations News Corp (ASX:NWS) by 1.5 per cent and Seven West Media by almost 1 per cent by 3.45pm.

After a steady midday, the ASX picked up pace throughout the afternoon to close 0.9 per cent higher or 58 points up at 6839.

Rising commodity prices continued to be the stimulant for the energy and mining rally, with BHP (ASX:BHP) and Oil Search (ASX:OSH) all edging higher. Meanwhile, the effect of the COVID vaccine is starting to kick in for travel stocks on hopes that travel will resume normality sooner. Shares in Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) were among best performers of the day.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 135 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 21 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing lift of 101 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 72-point rise tomorrow

Economic News

The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has revealed that the nation recorded a goods trade surplus of $8.8 billion for the start of the calendar year.

Export of goods fell 9 per cent in January due to the reduced quantity of iron ore exported. Meanwhile, import of goods declined by 10 per cent in January, as demand for automobiles decreased.

Company news

Industrial property investment heavyweight Centuria Industrial REIT (ASX:CIP) has successfully snapped up a modern warehouse in the north-western Sydney suburb of Bella Vista.

The off-market property cost CIP $26.25 million and becomes the 12th asset to be added to CIP’s acquisition pipeline in FY21, worth a total of $757.2 million. The purchase package includes a 7,678sqm warehouse and 591sqm modern office, with less than 50 per cent site coverage.

CIP fund manager Jesse Curtis believes the strategic location of a “true infill area” with convenient access to the M2 and M7 motorways, can draw a significant interest from users.

Shares in CIP closed 1.7 per cent higher at $3.04

Other news

Ship builder Austal’s (ASX:ASB) US president Craig Perciavalle has resigned, on the back of investigations by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and US regulatory bodies.

Dairy and snack producer Freedom Foods Group (ASX:FNP) has today been served a second class action in the Victorian Supreme Court.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Energy adding 4.9 per cent while the worst performing sector was Info Tech, shedding 4.1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ), rising 12.8 per cent to close at $9.21. Shares in Adbri (ASX:ABC) and AUB Group (ASX:AUB) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Perenti Global (ASX:PRN),dropping 12.6 per cent to close at $1.25. Shares in Austal (ASX:ASB)and Dominos Pizza Enterprises (ASX:DMP) followed lower.

Asian markets

Mostly higher: Japan’s Nikkei is closed due to Emperor’s Birthday, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.7 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,811 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.4 per cent to US$175.96. Its futures are pointing to a fall of 1.4 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.74 up at US$57.95 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 79.21 US cents.