The Australian share market closed higher for the second day this week, extending its rally for the last three weeks and we touched 10-year highs.
The top 200 started higher today but lost momentum with energy stocks falling the most, becoming the worst performers on the ASX today after traders await Trump’s decision tomorrow if he will lift sanctions on Iran, in exchange for the middle eastern country curbing its nuclear program.
Energy stocks were the best performers in the US last night and ASX’s best performers yesterday, as US crude oil prices trade above $70.00, but it's paired back marginally today.
Telcos, staples also saw selling along with miners. '
The iron ore price rose 1.5 per cent its futures are pointing up 1.6 per cent with Fortescue (ASX:FMG) rising over 1 per cent
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 7 points or 0.12 per cent higher at 6,092.
The Dow futures are suggesting a gain of 26 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 5 point gain.
Value of trades
$5.9 billion on volume of 720 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Westpac (ASX:WBC), BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).
Local economic news
Retail sales were flat March in seasonally adjusted terms, disappointing economists who expected a lift of 0.3 per cent. The flat month comes after retail sales rose 0.6 per cent in February.
And the Government will hand down the Federal Budget at 7.30pm. We are expecting that our stronger economy should return tax cuts and higher infrastructure spending, while remaining on track to return to a budget surplus by 2020-21.
The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has restricted video marketing company, Big Un (ASX:BIG) from issuing a reduced prospectus until 2 May next year (2019). It means Big Un will not be able to rely on reduced disclosure rules and instead it must issue a full prospectus if it wishes to raise funds from retail investors. The regulator made the decision based on Big Un’s failure to lodge a financial report, directors’ report and auditor’s report for the half-year ending 31 December 2017, within 75 days, as required by the Corporations Act. The company meantime says it’s working on completing its half year accountants and is uncertain as to when the accounts will be lodged. Its shares last traded at $2.22.
Platinum Asset Management’s (ASX:PTM) shares soared today as after market close last night, it advised that its funds under management rose from $27 billion to $28 billion.
IPH (ASX:IPH) the holding company for intellectual property, announced a $40 million on market share buy-back, which will remain in place for 12 months.
Private hospital operator, Healthscope (ASX:HSO) received some extra financial backing today after NorthWest Healthcare Property REIT (TSX:NWH.UN) snapped up 10 per cent in the company, via a derivative (or finanical security) that was traded through Deutsche Bank.
AMP (ASX:AMP) announced the resignation of three non-executive directors from the board. Vanessa Wallace and Holly Kramer will step down ahead of the AGM. While the longest serving director, Patty Akopiantz will serve until the end of the year.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was financials adding 0.8 per cent while the worst performing sector was energy, shedding 1.2 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Platinum Asset Management (ASX:PTM), rising 8.6 per cent to close at $6.08. Shares in IPH (ASX:IPH) and G8 Education (ASX:GEM) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Eclipx Group Limited (ASX:ECX), dropping 4.5 per cent to close at $3.21. Shares in Aurizon Holdings Limited (ASX:AZJ) and GWA Group (ASX:GWA) followed lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1.5 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.8 per cent.
To commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,313 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.28 up at $US70.00 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.15 US cents.
Bitcoin trades at US$9,368 Ethereum is at US$756 and EOS is trading 8 per cent higher at US$18.46.