The Australian share market had a good start to the trading week, gaining about 0.7 per cent, following record leads from Wall Street and solid performance in most of our sectors.
Materials mustered up the most strength, with the likes of BHP (ASX:BHP) and Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) gaining over 2 per cent, while Orocobre (ASX:ORE) soared gaining almost 7 per cent.
But it was Aconex (ASX:ACX) shares that saw the most steam, shooting the lights out with a gain of 44 per cent. (We will touch on the detail later in the bulletin).
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.7 per cent higher or 42 points to 6,039.
The value of trades was $5 billion on volume of 728 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were ANZ (ASX:ANZ), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), and Aconex (ASX:ACX).
On the futures market the SPI is 34 points up.
Local economic news
Treasurer Scott Morrison announced the government is expecting a smaller deficit of $23.6 billion compared to the previous estimate of $29.4 billion The 2018/19 deficit is tipped to be $20.5 billion instead of $21.4 billion and the surplus is still projected in 2020/21. Meantime, economic growth was revised down for 2017/18 to 2.5 per cent from 2.75 per cent.
We saw the downward trend in new motor vehicles sales continue, according to the ABS. The trend estimate fell by 0.3 per cent in November when compared with October.
Shares in the owner of Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) which runs Donut King, Brumby's Bakery, Michel's Patisserie and Gloria Jean’s, were one of the worst performing stocks today, despite the company advising that Fairfax Media’s stories were false. RFG says despite the allegations about the franchise giant having issues with employee payments it has only had one payment entitlement query to its hotline. Its shares lost 7 per cent to $2.65.
ANZ (ASX:ANZ) has completed the sale of its 20 per cent stake in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank and will buy back $1.5 billion in shares as part of the capital management plan.
Global database platform Oracle (NYSE:ORL) has inked to deal to takeover Cloud-based technology company Aconex (ASX:ACX) for $1.6 billion at $7.80 cash per share. The board approved the takeover which is a 47 per cent premium to its close price on 15 December 2017.
Orocobre (ASX:ORE) is expecting lithium carbonate contract order prices will be 25 per cent higher in the June 2018 half year, than its previously advised prices.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was Materials adding 1.4 per cent to close at 11,095.
The worst performing sector was Telcos, shedding 0.1 per cent to close at 21,322 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Aconex Limited (ASX: ACX), rising 44 per cent to close at $7.63. Shares in Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX:PLS) and Mayne Pharma Group Limited (ASX: MYX) also closed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Retail Food Group Limited (ASX:RFG), dropping 7 per cent to close at $2.65. Shares in Aurizon Holdings Limited (ASX:AZJ) and Regis Resources Limited (ASX:RRL) also closed lower.
Asian markets –mixed
Japan’s Nikkei has added 1.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.1 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,256 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.25 up at $US57.33 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.59 US cents.
Bitcoin has fallen 1.9 per cent in the last 24 hours to $19,047
Ethereum fallen about 1.4 per cent to $715
And Litecoin has fallen about 2.8 per cent to $313