Sonic and CSL booster shot: Aus shares close 0.9% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market bounced 0.9 per cent higher today with health stocks leading the rally and most sectors higher.

It comes as Sonic Health (ASX:SHL) shares hit a record high and so too did CSL (ASX:CSL) after it closed above $200.00 for the first time ever, after a broker lifted its price target to $232 with a Citi analyst saying they expect a positive earnings season

Meantime, the energy sectors fell behind after the US crude oil price plunged 5 per cent overnight after US President Trump threatened tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese goods, triggering a selloff of the commodity.

Major iron ore miners, BHP (ASX:BHP), Rio (ASX:RIO) closed in the red after the iron ore price fell 0.9 per cent to US$63.34 while its futures are pointing to a slight recovery of 2.3 per cent.

While major lithium player Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) gained over 4 per cent.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 53 points or 0.85 per cent higher at 6,268.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 96 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 56 point.

Value of trades

$6.4 billion on volume of 779 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP), ANZ (ASX:ANZ) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA).

Company news

Sonic Health Care (ASX:SHL) gained 5.3 per cent today, setting a new all-time high, taking the chart to new levels. It comes just a week after the company announced it’s buying Pathologie Trier, one of the largest anatomical pathology practices in Germany, which makes €20 million in revenue per year. Shares in Sonic Health Care (ASX:SHL) closed 5.33 per cent higher at $26.46.

AP. Eagers (ASX:APE) is expecting a record net profit before tax of $69.5 million for the half year to 30 June 2018, a rise of 2.1 per cent compared to $68.1 million in the corresponding period of 2017.

Freedom Foods Group (ASX:FNP) advised on the back of strong demand, its sales are expected to grow by 35 per cent in FY2018 and that’s forecast to grow in FY2019. It also announced a new nutritional formulae range.

Rural Funds Group (ASX:RFF) is set to buy feedlots from Australia’s largest lot feeder and cattle processor, JBS Australia, with RFF to buy JBS’s Queensland and New South Wales Feedlots for $52.7 million (which equates to 15 per cent of Australia’s lot feed cattle capacity). RFF will provide a $75 million limited guarantee to J&F Australia (which currently buys cattle for JBS Feedlots). And that will see J&F become a wholly owned subsidiary of RFM.

Funeral company InvoCare (ASX:IVC) has entered into a conditional sales agreement to buy the Archer & Sons Funeral Homes in Western Australia. It’s buying the business and assets which generate $2.4 million per year. The deal should be completed by 20 July 2018.

a2 Milk Company (ASX:A2M) advised its revenue for the financial year (ending 30 June 2018) hit NZ$922 million, a 68 per cent jump compared the prior corresponding period. It also flagged higher costs, from the CEO transition, to increasing staff in China and the corporate office.

Cleanaway Waste Management (ASX:CWY) has inked a Joint Venture with ResourceCo to buy a 50 per cent interest in their new Resource Recovery Facility in western Sydney for $25 million, plus an earn out of a further $25 million

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was healthcare adding 2.32 per cent while the worst performing sector was energy, shedding 1.05 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Wisetech Global Limited (ASX:WTC), rising 5.8 per cent to close at $17.09. Shares in Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX:SHL) and Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sigma Healthcare Limited (ASX:SIG), dropping 3.16 per cent to close at $0.46. Shares in Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX:SKI) and Beach Energy Limited (ASX:BPT) followed lower.

Asian markets

Higher: Japan’s Nikkei has added 1.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.9per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 2.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,244 an ounce.
Light crude is $3.33 lower at $US69.23 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.82 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Mixed: Bitcoin has fallen 0.5 per cent to US$6,332, Ethereum has gained about 1.5 per cent to US$440 and EOS has fallen about 2.4 per cent to US$6.01