Afternoon rally weighed down by materials: ASX closed 0.5% lower

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

Australian shares closed lower despite rallying through the afternoon as some stocks moved away from near two year lows. Energy and material stocks weighed. Healthcare did the best. At the open the market hit its lowest level since December 2016. The energy sector also dropped after oil prices fell to their lowest level yesterday. At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 29 points lower, or 0.5 per cent lower to finish at 5,643.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 95 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 10 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing lift of 33 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 35 point fall tomorrow.

Company news

GrainCorp (ASX:GNC) reports that their joint group company secretary Amanda Luhrmann has resigned – also as Group General Counsel. Gregory Greer will continue as the sole Company Secretary. Murray Floyd will be Acting Group General Counsel. He has been with GrainCorp since 2013 and has over 25 years of legal experience. He has held previous executive as well as inhouse legal and governance roles in companies such as BHP (ASX:BHP), Boral (ASX:BLD) and Cleanaway (ASX:CWY). Shares in GrainCorp (ASX:GNC) closed 0.3 per cent higher to $7.54

CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) companies CPB Contractors and UGL have been selected to deliver the line-wide works package in support of the Sydney Metro City and Southwest Project, Australia's biggest public transport project.The NSW Government has awarded the contract providing revenue of $1.376 billion. Works are due to commence this year and are scheduled to conclude in 2024.

The Reject Shop (ASX:TRS) has had a surprise takeover offer from Allensford. They appointed broker Bell Potter to purchase shares through to January 7 at $2.70 per share. The bid comes after The Reject Shop cut its profit guidance in October.The board considers the offer 'somewhat opportunistic".

Crown Resorts Limited (ASX:CWN) announced that the appointment of John Poynton as a director of Crown has become effective. His appointment was announced back in May 2018. He will replace James Packer who decided in March to take a break from all of his work commitments.

IPOs

Coles (ASX:COL) started trading today. They opened at $12.49 and it closed at $12.75.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Healthcare adding 1.5 per cent while the worst performing sector was Materials, shedding 2.7 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Trade Me (ASX:TME), rising 16.5 per cent to close at $5.57. Shares in Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) and REA Group (ASX:REA) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Wesfarmers (ASX:WES),dropping 27.7 per cent to close at $31.96. Shares in CYBG (ASX:CYB) and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,222 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell -1.9 per cent to US$74.65. Its futures are pointing to a fall of 1.8 per cent.
Light crude is US$3.81 lower at US$53.39 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.35 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading lower: Bitcoin has fallen 4.8 per cent to US$4521, Ethereum has fallen 7.7 per cent to US$134 and XRP lost 10.2 per cent to $0.44.