RBA keeps cash rate on hold: The ASX closes 1% lower

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian stock market closed lower today after a small rise in early morning trade. The best performing sector was Telcos adding 0.3 per cent while the worst performing sector was Consumer Discretionary. The Reserve Bank of Australia has kept the official cash rate on hold, extending Australia’s longest ever period without a change to 28 months. At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 58 points lower, or 1 per cent lower to finish at 5,713.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 184 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 19 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing fall of 59 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 62 point fall tomorrow.

Economic news

At its meeting today, the RBA Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 1.50 per cent. They report that global economic expansion is continuing and unemployment rates in most advanced economies are low. There are, however, some signs of a slowdown in global trade, partly stemming from ongoing trade tensions.

Company news

Cedar Woods Properties (ASX:CWP) has settled the sale of the new Target Head Office at Williams Landing in Victoria, following construction completion ahead of schedule. Cedar Woods pre-sold the nine level building to Centuria Property Funds for $58 million. Target commenced the relocation of staff to Williams Landing in November and will soon relocate remaining staff. Shares Cedar Woods Properties (ASX:CWP) are 2.3 per cent lower at $5.02.

Global ship building company Austal (ASX:ASB) has entered into an approximately $98 million contract with the National Infrastructure Development Company (NIDCO) which is owned by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to design and build a 94 metre high speed vehicle and passenger catamaran to be delivered in mid-2020.The ship will provide high speed passenger and vehicle operations on the key sea bridge between the islands.

Building services company the Johns Lyng Group (ASX:JLG) has entered into an exclusive Master Services Agreement with Suncorp Group (ASX:SUN), for them to facilitate all domestic property repairs for insurance claims estimated at greater than $100,000.The company has also signed a new contract with Yarra Ranges City Council in Melbourne, for a $26 million redevelopment of the Yarra Ranges Civic Centre.

Healthscope (ASX:HSO) today announced that the $690 million Northern Beaches Hospital project finance debt facility has been repaid in full. The repayment was funded by the NSW State Capital Payment received from the NSW Government in accordance with the Project Deed and from the divestment of the Asian Pathology business was also used to pay off the debt.

IPOs

Revasum (ASX:RVS) started trading today. The company makes processing equipment for the semiconductor industry, provider floated with an issue price of $2.00, opened at $1.90 and it closed at $1.86.

Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was Telcos adding 0.3 per cent while the worst performing sector was Consumer Discretionary, shedding 1.8 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was St Barbara (ASX:SBM), rising 3.9 per cent to close at $4.25. Shares in Elders (ASX:ELD) and Nanosonics (ASX:NAN) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR),dropping 8 per cent to close at $1.66. Shares in Western Areas (ASX:WSA) and Emeco Holdings (ASX:EHL) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 2.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,237 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.7 per cent higher at $66.38. It's futures point to a rise 0.8 per cent.
Light crude is $2.15 higher at $US53.08 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.67 US cents.