After a lacklustre trading week so far, the Australian share market put on a very strong performance today and finished 1.26% higher.
It comes as Wall Street finished at a new record high this morning, with the Dow Jones closing at over 21,000 points, thanks to the US President Donald Trump’s speech.
The Materials space gave our local bourse the most steam this session with the sector rising 3%.
Most sectors rose over 1%, while Telcos were the only drag on the market, with Telstra Corporation (ASX:TLS) dropping 1.5%.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 72 points higher to finish at 5,777.
Value of trades
The value of trades was $6.1 billion on volume of 999 million shares. The top three stocks by value were Telstra Corp Limited (ASX:TLS), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).
On the futures market the SPI is 79 points higher.
Local economic news
The Australia Bureau of Statistics released two new sets of economic data this morning.
The ABS revealed that the country’s surplus was $1.3 billion in January. This was lower than expected, as exports fell by 3%, while imports rose 4%.
In December, Australia’s surplus was $3.3 billion.
The ABS also revealed that building approvals rose 1.8% from December to January, which was more than expected.
In December, building approvals dropped 1.2% month-to-month.
However, taking a year-long perspective, from January 2016 to January (last month), building approvals fell 12%.
David Knox, the former CEO of Santos Limited (ASX:STO), has joined the board of energy storage company, RedFlow Ltd (ASX:RFX), as a Non-Executive Director. According to a director’s interest notice filed today, Mr Knox owns 30,000 shares in Redflow, worth around $6,600. Shares in Redflow closed 22.22% higher at 22 cents.
Sundance Energy Australia (ASX:SEA) will sell its Anadarko Basin assets in Oklahoma in the US for $US18.5 million. This sale is expected to close in May 2017.
Tassal Group Limited (ASX:TGR) is expecting to invest $270 million in capital expenditure over the next five years, to meet increasing domestic demand for salmon.
Macquarie Group Limited (ASX:MQG) has allocated US$750 million worth of Macquarie Additional Capital Securities (MACS) to wholesale investors. These additional securities will pay a fixed coupon of 6.125% per annum, until the first Reset Date in March 2027.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector was Materials, adding 3 per cent to close at 10,128. The worst performing sector was Telcos, losing 1.4 per cent to close at 1,615 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was South32 Limited (ASX:S32), rising 9.24 per cent to close at $2.72. Shares in Alumina Limited (ASX:AWC) and Independence Group NL (ASX:IGO) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock was Myer Holdings Limited (ASX:MYR), dropping 2.9 per cent to close at $1.17. Shares in Syrah Resources Limited (ASX:SYR) and Sky Network Television Limited (ASX:SKT) also closed lower.
Gold is trading at $US1,247 an ounce.
Light crude is down 34 cents to $US53.67 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying US$0.7655