Eco bounce: Aus shares close 0.24% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

It has been a bumpy, but positive day of trade for the Australian share market. From the get go, the market defied weak leads from Wall Street and falls in the Iron Ore price and opened in the black.

The local bourse didn’t hold its mood though for long and bounced up and down like a yo-yo, reacting to a suite of economic news after PMI and house prices fell in May, while retail trade soared to its best level in 2 and a half years.

After about 1pm, the ASX200 managed to track mostly sideways though, before it closed 0.24 per cent higher.

Utilites led the charge throughout the day, followed by gains in Health Care, Industrials and A-Reits.

The biggest drag on the market surprisingly came from Staples, with Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) falling 3.11 per cent and Bellamy’s Australia (ASX:BAL) dropping 0.77 per cent, despite strong retail trade figures being released from the ABS.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 14 points up to finish at 5,738

The value of trades

$5.4 billion on volume of 792 million shares at the close of trade.

The top three stocks by value 

Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC), Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).

On the futures market the SPI is 3 points lower.

Asian markets 

The Nikkei is 0.98 per cent higher, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is 0.49 per cent higher and the Shanghai Composite is 0.29 per cent lower.

Local economic news 

Manufacturing has fallen from its near 15-year highs with the Performance of Manufacturing index falling by 4.4 points to 54.8 in May. A reading above 50 indicates the sector is expanding and the sector has now grown for the eighth consecutive month.

To business investment, which flows into the calculation of economic growth. The ABS reported business investment for the March quarter rose 0.3 per cent. It’s the first rise in 15 months after investment fell in the prior quarter. It comes as spending on buildings rose 0.7 per cent, while spending on equipment fell 0.1 per cent, both in the March Quarter. Over the year though, investment is 9.3 per cent down.

To retail trade. Sales strongly rebounded in April, rising 1 per cent. That’s the biggest rise in over 2 and a half years. The figures take annual growth from a 4-year low of 2.2 per cent to 3.1 per cent.

To home prices in May. Capital city home prices fell as expected, but by 1.1 per cent, which was the biggest monthly fall in prices in 18 months. Prices were however 8.3 per cent higher over the year.

Company news

Regional Express (Rex) Holdings Limited (ASX:REX) is confident its full 2017 year profit will increase over 250 per cent, compared to the prior financial year. The regional airline says it has seen a steady improvement in trading conditions which bolstered its results. The board also says it will pay out a final dividend, if its full-year results are in line with expectations. Shares in Regional Express (Rex) Regional Express Holdings Limited (ASX:REX) closed 2.55 per cent higher to $1.01.

Link Group (ASX:LNK) has invested $64.7 million in Property Exchange Limited (PEXA), taking its shareholding in the company from 11.4 per cent to 19.7 per cent.

Hunter Hall Limited International (ASX:HHL) has advised that its shareholders approved the merger with Pengana Capital Group Limited (ASX:PCG), which will see the combined entity hold $3.1 billion funds under management.

Spark New Zealand Limited (ASX:SPK) says the Telecommunications Act review, announced today, will allow Spark to focus on bringing the best of new products, services and innovation to New Zealanders.

Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was Utilites adding 2.2 per cent to close at 9,188. The worst performing sector was Consumer Staples, losing 0.96 per cent to close at 9,266 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Primary Health Care Limited (ASX:PRY), rising 6.25 per cent to close at $3.91. Shares in Healthscope Limited (ASX:HSO) and Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX:NST) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock was Syrah Resources Limited (ASX:SYR), dropping 6.2 per cent to close at $2.57. Shares in Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX:FMG) and Estia Health Limited (ASX:EHE) also closed lower.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,267 an ounce.
Light crude has fallen $1.03 to $US48.63 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying 73.99 US cents.