Surge to the Friday finish line: Aus shares close 0.2% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Ellerm

It has been a positive day of trade for the Australian share market. After opening in the black the local bourse surged ahead, only to pull back slightly towards midday. The market held its ground for the remainder of the afternoon, finishing the week off strongly, but not quite making it over the 6000 mark.

As for the sectors, Healthcare, Information Technology and Telecommunication Services drove the market today, with both Sonic (ASX:SHL) and CSL (ASX:SHL) seeing gains of over 1 per cent.

Utilities and Consumer Staples were two sectors that underperformed, with both Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) and Woolworths (ASX:WOW) taking a hit.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 14 points up, or 0.2 per cent higher to finish at 5,957.

The value of trades was $4.6 billion on volume of 601 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ).

On the futures market the SPI is 24 points up.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.9 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.6 per cent.

Wall Street

The Dow Jones has added 0.15 per cent, The S&P 500 is up 0.13 per cent and the tech heavy Nasdaq has gained 0.62 per cent, while the 100 index rose 0.47 per cent.

Economic news

The ABS has reported sales of new motor vehicles in October decreased by 0.4 per cent compared to September. Tasmania did buck the trend however, with sales growing month on month.

Short term visitor arrivals increased by 0.4 per cent in September, compared to August, continuing and upward trend for the year.

Company news

Tatts Group Limited (ASX:TTS) has announced the Australian Competition Tribunal has decided to grant Tabcorp Holdings Limited (ASX:TAH) authorisation to proceed with its proposed merger with Tatts. The authorisation is subject to one condition only, that Tabcorp must divest its Odyssey gaming services business in Queensland. The wagering business and lotto giant first announced their intentions to merge late last year. While the company had received authorisation earlier in 2017, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission appealed the decision, forcing the case back to the competition tribunal. Shares in Tatts Group Limited (ASX:TTS) closed 2.33 per cent higher at $4.39  

ANZ (ASX:ANZ) has appointed Merrill Lynch to execute its on-market share purchase for the bank’s Dividend Reinvestment Plan.

Challenger (ASX:CGF) has announced Challenger Life Company has received commitment from institutional and wholesale investors to subscribe for $400 million in notes which will qualify for Tier 2 capital.

Traffic systems supplier Redflex (ASX:RDF) has successfully completed an institutional entitlement offer of $9.4 million, with strong support from existing eligible institutional shareholders.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Healthcare adding 0.7 per cent to close at 24,315.

The worst performing sector was Utilities, shedding 0.5 per cent to close at 8569. points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Tabcorp (ASX:TAH), rising 4.84 per cent to close at $4.98. Shares in Sims Metal Management (ASX:SGM) and St Barbara (ASX:SBM) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC), dropping 3.39 per cent to close at $6.55. Shares in Australian Agricultural Company (ASX:AAC) and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) also closed lower.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,283 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.05 l;ower at $US55.47 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.71 US cents.

Jessica Ellerm

Finance News Network
Jessica joined FNN in April 2016 and presents the Australian Share Market Outlook, and reports on the morning's leading business stories. Alongside FNN Jessica is a fintech industry commentator, writing for her own blog and a number of international online publications.