Westpac raise variable mortgage rates: ASX close 0.8 per cent higher

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

It has been a positive day of trade for the Australian share market with a strong rise just around 3:00 pm as Westpac (ASX:WBC) became one of the first of the Big Four banks to raise its variable home loan rates, at the same time hiking St George’s rates. All variable mortgage rates will increase by 14 basis points from September 19 2018. As for the sectors, Financials are leading the way and Energy has slumped. While iron ore price gained 0.1 per cent to $65.88 and its futures are pointing to a rise of 0.5 per cent

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 48 points higher, or 0.8 per cent higher to finish at 6352

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 50 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 3.8 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing lift of 18 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 47 point rise

Value of trades

$8.3 billion on volume of 979 million shares at the close of trade. The top three stocks by value were CSL (ASX:CSL) Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Westpac (ASX:WBC).

Company news

Sirtex Medical (ASX:SRX) recorded a Net Profit After Tax (NPAT) of $41.5 million, a significant improvement on the prior corresponding period. Global dose sales of SIR-Spheres microspheres - a medical device used in interventional oncology was down 5.7 per cent compared to last year’s figures. The number of treatment centres globally certified to use their product increased 12.6 per cent - driven by growth in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa and APAC. Shares in Sirtex Medical (ASX:SRX) closed 0.93 per cent lower to $31.86

Metcash (ASX:MTS) report that their underlying profit after tax increased 10.7 per cent to $215.6 million. In a Chairman’s address released today they say after a year of solid performance in their Supermarkets, Convenience and Liquor businesses, they were disappointed to receive advice from the Drakes Supermarkets Group that it would not commit to a long-term supply agreement to have its South Australian stores supplied by their proposed new ‘best in class’ distribution centre. Management say this loss is not expected to have a material impact on its supermarket earnings in FY 2019. Shares in Metcash (ASX:MTS) closed 10.5 per cent higher at $2.96


Virgin Australia (ASX:VAH) has reported a statutory loss after tax of $653 million for the 2018 financial year.The company says the loss reflects $573 million in non-cash accounting adjustments and the impairment of Virgin Australia’s international business assets.

Construction supplier Boral (ASX:BLD) has reported its net profit (NPAT) increased 49 per cent on the same time last year to $441 million for this financial year. Sales revenue lifted 34 per cent on the prior year to $5.9 billion.

Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA) has reported its net profit (NPAT) fell 79 per cent on the previous year to just under $29 million for this financial year. The dairy company’s total revenue lifted 17 per cent on the prior year to over $1.4 billion. Bega says its statutory results reflect the sales of assets last year and the costs of corporate activity this financial year.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Financials adding 1.8 per cent while the worst performing sector was Energy, shedding 0.3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Metcash (ASX:MTS), rising 10.5 per cent to close at $2.96. Shares in Boral (ASX:BLD) and Mayne Pharma (ASX:MYX) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Reliance Worldwide Corp (ASX:RWC), dropping 6.1 per cent to close at $5.40. Shares in Speedcast International (ASX:SDA) and AfterPay Touch (ASX:APT) followed lower.

Asian markets

Mixed:Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.06 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.5 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1203 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.34 lower at $US68.53barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.08 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading higher: Bitcoin has gained 2.08 per cent to US$7058, Ethereum has gained 2.7 per cent to US$293 and EOS has gained about 9.9 per cent to US$5.88, in the last 24 hours.