The Aussie share market had a day of recovery, clawing back from its dive at the open, following fears on Wall Street after US stocks saw their worst day of trade since August last year. Late morning, most sectors were in the red, by after lunch the local bourse bounced back with gains in telcos, property, and health stocks leading the charge. Sirtex Medical (ASX:SRX) shares bucked 46 per cent higher after the biotech company agreed to a $1.6 billion takeover offer from the United States giant Varian Medical Systems.
The S&P/ASX 200 index finished 0.25 per cent higher or 15 points up at 6,038 points.
Holding back gains were the miners and energy stocks, which were dragged lower by a drop in commodity prices on the back of the US dollar strengthening, while the oil price dipped as well. The likes of Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) closed over 2 per cent lower, while local lithium giant Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) slipped over 3 per cent while BHP (ASX:BHP) and Fortescue Metals’ (ASX:FMG) also fell.
The value of trades was $6.4 billion on volume of 849 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 Sirtex Medical (ASX:SRX).
On the futures market the SPI is 22 points up.
Local economic news
The inflation rate creeped higher to 1.9 per cent year-on-year in the December quarter, having grown 1.8 per cent year-on-year in the prior quarter. What can we take away from this? Prices are rising with petrol rising the most, followed by a rise in fruit and then tobacco. But CPI rose less than the market consensus of a 2.0 per cent lift.
Big Un (ASX:BIG) saw its cash receipts from customers grow a massive 460 per cent for the December quarter to $22.5 million. Its cash profit also hit $10.3 million in the quarter. Its shareholders liked the news and its shares closed 1.4 per cent higher at $3.66
Healthy fast food company that operates on our major highways, Oliver’s Retail Food (ASX:OLI) saw a rise in sales, cash receipts and its cash balance for the December quarter. Its sales growth beat its forecasts thanks to its retail price rises and better store management. It opened three stores in the quarter, taking its total to 26 stores. Its shares popped 17.4 per cent higher at $0.27.
Oil and gas company Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) has expanded into offshore producing after completing the purchase of Lattice Energy for $1.6 billion from Origin Energy (ASX:ORG). Beach Energy also appointed a new executive team, brought in a new structure and growth and development plans. At the same time it bolstered its full year production guidance and dropped its costs guidance for FY18.
Independence Group (ASX:IGO) reported its Nova nickel production and Tropicana gold production underpinned its strong quarterly results
And Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) saw a 40 per cent surge in revenue and a 12 per cent lift in sales and production.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was telcos adding 1.9 per cent to close at 1,318 while the worst performing sector was energy, shedding 0.9 per cent to close at 10,847 points.
The best performing stocks in the S&P/ASX 200 were led by Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX:SRX), rising 45.8 per cent to close at $27.45. Shares in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (ASX:API) and Sigma Healthcare Limited (ASX:SIG) followed higher.
The worsts performing stocks in the S&P/ASX 200 were led by Beach Energy Limited (ASX:BPT), dropping about 4.1 per cent to close at $1.30. Shares in Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX:PLS) and Viva Energy Reit (ASX:VVR) followed lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.2 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,341 an ounce.
Light crude is $1.57 lower at $US63.99 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 80.74 US cents.
The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading lower.
Bitcoin has fallen 11 per cent to US$9,913
Ethereum fallen about 8 per cent to US$1,064
And Tether lost about 1 per cent to 98.80 US cents.