Financials pull ASX up: Aus shares close 0.19% higher

Market Reports

by Clive Tompkins

It has been a positive day for the Australian share market. After a weak start the local bourse rebounded after the release of better than expected building approvals data from ABS.
The ASX 200 rose sharply after it received the news at around 11.30am before it closed 0.19 per cent higher.
Gains in Financials and Materials helped the local market up, after Insurance Australia (ASX:IAG) rose over 2.7 per cent, while the big four banks and Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) rose around 1 per cent each. Going the other way were Telcos, Energy and Health care sectors.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 11 points up to finish at 5,718.
The value of trades was $4.2 billion on volume of 584 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ).
On the futures market the SPI is 14 points up.

Economic news

April trend dwelling approvals rose for the third month, with the ABS’ leading indicator for the housing market, rising by 0.1 per cent. Dwelling approvals were relatively stable in trend terms over the past three months, after the indicator fell from its record highs in 2016. Dwelling approvals are now 14 per cent below its peak level from May 2016.

Company news

Ellex Medical Lasers (ASX:ELX) has purchased all future royalty commitments for its illuminated, micron-scale microcatheter device, iTrack, for US$2.15 million. The manufacturer and marketer of medical lasers for ophthalmologists, or eye doctors purchased the device’s future royalties from ISCI Holdings Incorporated. The purchase ensures Ellex Medical Lasers receives 100 per cent of all future iTrack revenue until 31 December 2023. Shares in Ellex Medical Lasers (ASX:ELX) closed 0.99 per cent down at $1.00.

The ACCC has advised nib Holdings Limited (ASX:NHF) it intends take the health insurer to the Federal Court. The ACCC alleges nib failed to communicate its MediGap scheme changes with its customers.

Inghams Group Limited (ASX:ING) has extended its poultry supply agreement with Woolworths (ASX:WOW) Australian supermarkets until mid-2021.

Global Construction Services’ (ASX:GCS) 51 per cent owned Gallery Facades business has been awarded a $62 million contract by the building division of Lendlease Group (ASX:LLC).

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Financials adding 0.9 per cent to close at 6340. The worst performing sector was Energy, losing 0.7 per cent to close at 9457 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Resolute Mining, rising 4.00 per cent to close at $1.17. Shares in Western Areas and St Barbara also closed higher. The worst performing stock was Retail Food Group, dropping 2.66 per cent to close at $5.13. Shares in Sims Metal Management and Galaxy Resources also closed lower.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1268 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.19 up at $US49.99 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7443.