Steady rise for ASX: Aus shares close 0.2 per cent higher

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market managed to stay modestly higher today after opening on a high this morning.
Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) saw a rise – of 5.9 per cent. Vocus Group announced the retirement of non-executive directors Jon Brett and Rhoda Phillippo as part of a management renewal process. Its shares rose 3.8 per cent. Domino's Pizza (ASX:DMP) shares continued to fall further after it was downgraded by Citi and Credit Suisse last week. BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) advanced after it was reported that British multinational oil and gas company BP was a front runner to buy its onshore oil and gas operations in the US. Iron ore price rose 1.1 per cent to US$63.84 and its futures are pointing to a fall of 0.1 per cent.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 14 points higher, or 0.2 per cent higher to finish at 6286.

On the futures market the Dow futures are suggesting a gain of 136 points up.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 16 point rise.

The value of trades was $4.2 billion on volume of 513 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), and Westpac (ASX:WBC).

Company news

Pharmaceutical company Starpharma (ASX:SPL) today announced that the US FDA has completed its review of the VivaGel BV New Drug Application with no issues and confirmed its progress to the next stage. Confirmation by the FDA about this filing is a significant milestone for Starpharma. The FDA has confirmed that the VivaGel BV was granted Fast Track status by the FDA - designed to make new therapeutics available to patients as rapidly as possible. VivaGel BV is a breakthrough product thst targets the organisms that cause Bacterial vaginosis. It is already approved in Europe and Australia and is expected to be first available in Australian pharmacies, under the brand name Fleurstat in 2018. Shares in Starpharma (ASX:SPL) closed 1.34 per cent higher at $1.14

More headlines 

Yancoal (ASX:YAL) will start standing down employees from its Austar operation as they await outcome of legal proceedings regarding two prohibition notices issued by the Industrial Relations Commission in relation to the underground coking mine. In 2014 two men died at the Cessnock mine after a wall collapsed. The company says as the matter is the subject of legal proceedings an estimated date for a return to production is currently unavailable.

Wattle Health (ASX:WHA) has signed a 12 month supply agreement with Vasudevan and Sons in India for its natural baby food range representing revenue of about $1.5 million over the next year. Wattle says the agreement is an important milestone in one of the world’s largest and most lucrative markets.

Medical technology company, Admedus (ASX:AHZ) has signed an exclusive distribution agreement with Medical Instruments S.p.A to market and distribute its ADAPT technology in Italy. They will initially distribute the ADAPT treatment for congenital and structural heart defects and disease.

Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was materials adding 1.1 per cent while the worst performing sector was utilities shedding 0.46 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pilbarra Minerals (ASX:PLS), rising 5.9 per cent to close at $0.99. Shares in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API) and Vocus Group (ASX:VOC) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Domino’s Pizza (ASX:DMP), dropping 3.8 per cent to close at $47.22. Shares in Caltex (ASX:CTX) and Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) followed lower.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has added 1.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 1.9 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,262 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.86 up at $US73.80 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 74.70 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has fallen 0.92 per cent to US$6768, Ethereum shed about 1.9 per cent to US$484 and EOS is 4.6 per cent lower to US$8.60.