Trade surplus beats expectations: ASX up for 5th day, 0.2% higher Thurs

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian stock market has continued to gain momentum for the fifth trading day, gaining 0.2 per cent.

Over half of the sectors made gains today with Materials leading the major sectors, after BHP charged ahead on its sale and buyback. But the smaller IT sector gained the most with Afterpay (ASX:APT) rising 3.8 per cent.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 11 points higher, at 5,841

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 69 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 6 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing lift of 15 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 26 point rise tomorrow morning

Economic news

Australia’s trade surplus hit $3.02 billion in September, smashing forecasts and consensus, it also beat the prior month’s surplus of $2.3 billion (seasonally adjusted).

Company news

Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) reported a 0.6 per cent dip in Australian main floor gaming revenue from July to October, (compared to the same time last year) while its Australian resorts non-gaming revenue rose 3.5 per cent, compared to the same time last year. VIP Crown’s Australian turnover rose the most over the same periods, up 13 per cent. It closed 2 per cent lower at $12.26.

Solar material company ClearVue Technologies (ASX:CPV) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with an art glass supplier, Zurreal. The deal aims to be used on indoor and outdoor advertising and for custom designed building facades. Shares in ClearVue Technologies (ASX:CPV) gained 9.2 per cent to $0.35.

BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) shares gained 2.8 per cent after completed the sale of its onshore US oil and gas assets to BP for US$10.5 billion. At the same time it also announced plans to return US$10.4 billion to shareholders via on buy-back and a special dividend. BHP says the shareholder return program, (which is what the heavyweight is calling is), will bring the total cash returned to shareholders to US$21 billion over the last two years. Year-on-year BHP shares are 25 per cent higher.

National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) shares finishing 0.6 per cent higher after it announced its headline cash earnings fell 14 per cent to $5.7 billion (in the year to 30 September) on the back of restructuring and customer remediation costs. Just 1 per cent below Citi’s estimates. Meantime, its revenue rose 6 per cent to $19 billion. It declared a second-half dividend of 99 cents fully franked in line with Citi’s expectations. Citi has the stock as buy with a price target of $32.25.

Woolworths (ASX:WOW) shares gained 1 per cent after Australian supermarket sales grew 1.9 per cent in the first quarter, to 30 September 2018, compared to the 4.7 per cent growth for the same time last year, suffering a hit after the plastic bag ban, with total sales for the quarter coming in at $9.9 billion.

IPOs

Financial services company, Heartland Group Holdings Limited (ASX:HGH) started trading today. It opened at $1.47 and closed at $1.47.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was S&P/ASX Materials adding 1.3 per cent while the worst performing sector was S&P/ASX Real Estate Investment Trusts, shedding 1.6 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Orocobre Limited (ASX:ORE), rising 11.7 per cent to close at $3.72. Shares in Corporate Travel Management Limited (ASX:CTD) and Bellamy's Australia Limited (ASX:BAL) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Ausdrill (ASX:ASL),dropping 9.9 per cent to close at $1.54. Shares in Vocus Group Limited (ASX:VOC)and Cleanaway Waste Management Limited (ASX:CWY) followed lower.

Asian markets

Mixed: Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.7 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1.8 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 1.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,219 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 1.3 per cent to US$75.71 and its futures are eyeing a 0.1 per ceht rise.
Light crude is US$1.32 lower at US$64.86 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.28US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has gained 2.6 per cent to US$6,394 Ethereum has gained 2 per cent to US$200 and EOS has gained 6.5 per cent to US$5.46, in the last 24 hours.