Bullish start to 2017: ASX tracking 0.93% higher at noon

Market Reports

by David Chau

It’s been a bullish start to the first trading session of this year. The Santa rally seems to have persevered, and the ASX 200 has jumped above the 5,700 points mark for the first time since August 2015. The Australian share market is tracking 0.93% higher at noon.

So far, we’ve seen strong performances from mining giants, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, which have surged more than 1% since this morning. And the big banks have risen as well – with ANZ leading the “big four” with a gain of 1.6%.

Energy is the best performing sector so far, bolstered by the rise in oil prices overnight. The deal to cut oil production by 1.8 million barrels per day for OPEC and non-OPEC producers began on Sunday. By the end of this month, we’ll see whether all the oil producers have abided by the agreement.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 index was up 52 points to 5,718. On the futures market, the SPI is 54 points higher.

Company news

EML Payments (ASX:EML), formerly known as Emerchants, has entered a multi-year contract to provide salary packaging prepaid cards to McMillan Shakespeare, Australia’s largest provider of novated leases and salary packaing, and its customers. EML says it will replace existing prepaid cards in the market by 1 July 2017. Shares in EML are trading 4.1% higher at $1.91.

Kingsgate Consolidated says its (ASX:KCN) Thai-controlled subisidary, Akara Resources, ceased production at the Chatree Gold Mine on 31 December 2016 in compliance with the Thai government’s requirements. In mid December, the company indicated it is looking to seek compensation from the Thai military government regarding its decision to shut down Kingsgate’s gold mine. Shares in Kingsgate are trading 3.51% lower at 28 cents.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Energy, gaining 1.2 per cent to 9,151. Shares in Whitehaven Coal have risen 4.6 per cent and trading at $2.73. Shares in Worley Parsons and Beach Energy are also stronger.

The sector with the least gains was Healthcare, gaining 0.61 per cent to 19,902. Shares in Nanosonics have lost 1.29 per cent, trading at $3.07. Shares in Estia Health are lower, but CSL shares gained 0.23%.

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,151 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7196.