Pre-Christmas commodity shine: Aus shares close 0.2% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

It was a good last day of trade before the ASX breaks for Christmas, with most the sectors trading higher and commodities leading. The ASX200 gained 0.2 per cent today and 73 points over the week holding onto nine-year highs.

The local bourse shot up at the open, on the back of US stocks closing higher after some American companies pledged to put their tax bill savings toward higher wages.

A basket of local lithium plays with resources in the United States soared with the likes of Tawana Resources (ASX:TAW) adding 6 per cent and GSC (ASX:GSC) jumping almost 18 per cent after President Donald Trump launched efforts to reduce America’s reliance on importing critical minerals. The heavy weights also gained too, with the likes of BHP (ASX:BHP) and RIO (ASX:RIO) closing higher.

On the back of the US crude oil price spike to a three-week high, the energy sector enjoyed a final push. Oil Search (ASX:OSH) and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) shares gained 1.7 per cent.

While the biggest mover this week, Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) gained over 7 per cent, after it gained 32 per cent yesterday, clawing back some of its losses from its heavy selling of late. 

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.2 per cent higher to 6,070. 

The value of trades was $6.4 billion on volume of 642 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and BHP (ASX:BHP).

On the futures market the SPI is 13 points up.

More company news 

Slater and Gordon (ASX:SGH) shares kicked 7 per cent higher after its lender scheme arrangement was put into place and resulted in a $636.6 million reduction in its secured debt. It also resulted in 66 million shares or 95 per cent of its total capital being issued to senior lenders while it also separated from its UK operations. Shares in Slater and Gordon (ASX:SGH) closed 7.4 per cent higher at $3.35.

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) will fund up to US$181 million in financial support as part of its response efforts related to the dam failure at Samarco in November 2015.

Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES) announced plans to sell its Curragh coal mine in Queensland to for $700 million, to a US based coal group.

And mining company, Queensland Bauxite (ASX:QBL) and allege product provider, Algae Tech (ASX:AEB) have partnered up to develop veterinary cannabis medication. Queensland Bauxite shares soared 8 per cent higher.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Energy, gaining 0.5 per cent to 10,784.
The worst performing sector is Consumer Staples, falling 0.4 per cent to 10,256.

Shares in Retail Food Group Limited (ASX:RFG) have risen 7 per cent and closed at $2.30. Shares in Aveo Group (ASX:AOF) and Mineral Resources Limited (ASX:MIN) are also stronger.

Shares in Sims Metal Management Limited (ASX:SGM) closed 2.4 per cent lower to $15.70. Shares in Altium (ASX:ALU) and Western Areas (ASX:WSA) are also lower.

Asian markets

Are trading higher: Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.09 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 0.1 per cent.

Wall Street

Wrapped up the four trading days this week higher: The Dow Jones added 0.5 per cent, The S&P 500 gained 0.3 per cent and the tech heavy Nasdaq gained 0.4 per cent, while the 100 index rose 0.1 per cent. 

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,267 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.14 up at $US58.28 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.16 US cents.


Bitcoin which was come off its $20,000 high from four days ago. Its now trading at $14,488.
Ethereum fallen to $734
And Litecoin has fallen as well to $283

Have a safe and happy festive season from everyone at the Finance News Network.