Miners and Metcash shine: Aus shares close flat

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

It was a lacklustre flat start to the week Australian share market with the ASX200 seeing a lot of yo-yo action before it closed flat.

One of the stand outs was wholesale distribution and marketing company, Metcash (ASX:MTS) with its shares jumping about 9 per cent after it reported strong profits, sales and earnings.

Miners also saw a bit of shine today after the iron ore price charged ahead, along with the copper price. The likes of Alumina (ASX:AWC), BHP (ASX:BHP), South32 (ASX:S32) and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) steamed ahead while Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) shone, gaining over 7 per cent after inking a graphite sales agreement with a Chinese company.

Telstra (ASX:TLS) also had pep in its step, recovering from its sell-off late last week, jumping over 2 per cent today.

Selling today in half the sectors, capped gained with the likes of G8 Education (ASX:GEM) falling over 22 per cent after the company downgraded its EBIT forecast for FY18.

At the closing bell

The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 4 points down, or 0.07 per cent lower to finish at 5,986.

The value of trades was $4.7 billion on volume of 637 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 Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).

On the futures market the SPI is 5 points up.

Local economic news

Wages rose in the September quarter while gross company operating profits fell according to the ABS Business Indicators publication. Meantime, Petroleum exploration fell 3.5 per cent in the September quarter.

More company news 

Network service provider, Service Stream (ASX:SSM) says the temporary nbn's HFC pause will not materially impact its earnings this financial year or beyond. And despite the nbn undertaking remediation works for six to nine months its fixed communications division will have a strong FY18. Shares in Service Stream (ASX:SSM) closed 0.8 per cent higher to $1.33.

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) appointed Simon Thompson as Chairman, to take over the hot seat from Jan du Plessis on 5 March 2018. Rio also unveiled plans to deliver $5 billion of additional free cash flow over the next five years.

ANZ’s (ASX:ANZ) Chief Risk Officer, Nigel Williams will retire next year (March 2018) after being in banking for 33 years.

Metcash's (ASX:MTS) net profit rose 24 per cent to $92.9 million in the first half of 2018, compared to the prior corresponding period, while its group earnings (EBIT) rose 18.7 per cent to $152 million, also over the same period.

IPOs

The renewable and sustainable energy investments company, New Energy Solar (ASX:NEW) started trading today. It floated with an issue price of $1.50, opened at $1.60 and closed at $1.56.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector Telcos, closing 2.14 per cent higher to 1,263.
The worst performing sector was Consumer Discretionary, closing 0.75 per cent lower to 2,261.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Metcash Limited (ASX: MTS), rising 9.09 per cent higher to $3.00 Shares in Syrah Resources Limited (ASX: SYR) and Speedcast International Limited (ASX: SDA) also closed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was G8 Education Limited (ASX: GEM), closed 23.08 per cent lower to $3.40. Shares in Mineral Resources Limited (ASX: MIN) and Orocobre Limited (ASX: ORE) also closed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.7 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,275 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.96 higher to $58.36 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.02 US cents.