Tumultuous day: Aus shares close 0.14% higher

Market Reports

by Kathy Skantzos

The stock market picked up modestly after midday after a tumultuous day. After opening in the black poised for a solid start following record leads from the US, the local bourse lost momentum early on.

Consumer staples took a plunge on the market today, with Wesfarmers plummeting more than 3 per cent after announcing a loss of Coles Express sales. Discretionary also fell, pulled down by Domino’s which also dropped more than 3 per cent. Telcos is also at a loss, with Telstra falling almost 1 and a half per cent.

REITS was pulled up by Stockland and Mirvac, Energy performed strongly with Beach Energy rising more than 5 per cent, and Materials finished up, driven by Sims Metals, Mineral Resources and BHP.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 8 points up, or 0.14 per cent higher to finish at 5,906.

The value of trades was $5.1 billion on volume of 728 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP (ASX:BHP), Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) and Commonwealth (ASX:CBA).

On the futures market the SPI is 2 points up.

Checking in with how Asian markets are tracking now,

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.05 per cent.

Local economic news

Inflation figures for the September quarter was released today after much anticipation. The rate rose just 0.6 per cent, less than expected by the market. Consumer prices increased 1.8 per cent year on year, less than market consensus of 2 per cent. It’s the lowest inflation rate since the December quarter of 2016. This was offset by price falls in vegetables, fuel and telecommunication.

Company news

Centuria Metropolitan REIT (ASX:CMA) announced in its September quarter FY2018 report its portfolio occupancy has increased by 1.3 per cent to 98.6 per cent. The property fund agreed to 12 leases and acquired 2 assets in Western Australia valued at $91.8 million, growing its portfolio value to $760 million. The company also successfully completed a $90 million capital raising, increasing its market capitalisation to over $500 million. Shares in Centuria Metropolitan REIT (ASX:CMA) closed 0.83 per cent higher at $2.42.

Centuria Industrial REIT (ASX:CIP) continues to break milestones, growing its portfolio to more than $1 billion in the first quarter of the 2018 financial year and bolstering its occupancy by 1.4 per cent to 93.5 per cent.

CIMIC Group’s (ASX:CIM) Thiess has won a $440 million mining services contract at BHP (ASX:BHP) Mitsubishi Alliance coal mines in Queensland for three years.

Wesfarmers, (ASX:WES) the parent company of Coles, Officeworks and Bunnings, has seen a 9.5 per cent fall in its Coles Express sales in the first quarter of 2018 on the back of a drop in fuel sales.

IPO

CannPal Animal Therapeutics (ASX:CP1) started trading today. The pharmaceutical company floated with an issue price of $0.20, opened at 19.5 cents and it closed at $0.17.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Energy adding 1.2 per cent to close at 9,577.

The worst performing sector was Consumer Staples, dropping 1.2 per cent to close at 9,566 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) rising 5.65 per cent to close at $0.94. Shares in Sims and Mineral Resources also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Fletcher Building (ASX:FBU) dropping 5.26 per cent to close at $6.84. Shares in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API) and GWA Group (ASX:GWA) also closed lower.

Commodities

Gold is trading at $US1,274 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.63 up at $US52.53 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.19 US cents.