Materials help lift the market: ASX closes 1% higher

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

It has been a positive day of trade for the Australian share market with a close 1 per cent higher. There was an afternoon swing boosted by the Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) which saw a rise after lunch. BHP (ASX:BHP) also did well seeing a rise of over 3 per cent. Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API) took a dent in their shares today after concerns over proposed purchase of Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG). The bid was made back in October, on Friday API announced it had taken a further 8 per cent stake in Sigma. As for the sectors, Materials was the best performer today, financials the worst. At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 56 points lower, or 1 per cent higher to finish at 5,658

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 84 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 9 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing lift of 27 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 36 point fall tomorrow

Local economic news

The Federal Government’s mid-year review shows revisions since the May Budget. The Budget deficit is 2018/19: is $5.2 billion vs $14.5 billion in May 2019/20: surplus $4.1 billion v $2.2 billion surplus
Economic Growth
2018/19: 2.75 per cent revised down from 3 per cent in May
Wage Growth
2018/19: 2.5 per cent revised down from 2.75 per cent in May

Company news

The voluntary administrators appointed to insurance group CBL Corp (ASX:CBL) advice that on the 12th December Oceanic Securities, a shareholder holding 15.27 per cent of the shares in CBL corp filed an opposition to the application for putting CBL Corp into liquidation. In May 2018, two creditors of CBL corp filed an application to have the company placed into liquidation. The liquidation hearing will be adjourned to be heard no later than 4th February to allow Oceanic to consider its position. Shares in CBL Corp (ASX:CBL) last traded $2.82

BHP (ASX:BHP) says it has successfully completed its $7.3 billion off market buy-back. The mining giant bought back around 265.8 million BHP Group shares, which represents 8.3 per cent of the issued share capital of BHP Group. Additionally, BHP has announced it will pay a special dividend of US$1.02 US a share which will be paid to all eligible shareholders on 11 January 2019.

Speedcast (ASX:SDA) says it has completed the acquisition of Globecomm systems for $134 million.
Globecomm is a leading provider of remote communications and multi-network infrastructure in over 100 countries.

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has completed the sale of its aluminium smelter at Dunkerque, in France to Liberty House for $500 million. Liberty House is continuing operations at the smelter and has announced plans for the development of additional activity around the site.

Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was Materials adding 2.4 per cent while the worst performing sector was Financials shedding 0.1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN), rising 11 per cent to close at $15.81. Shares in Emeco Holdings (ASX:EHL) and Vocus Group (ASX:VOC) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API), dropping 7.5 per cent to close at $1.48. Shares in Perpetual (ASX:PPT) and Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.7 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.05 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.09 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,237 an ounce.
Iron ore price gained 4.6 per cent at $70.74 and its futures are pointing to a rise of 1.6 per cent
Light crude is $1.36 down at $US51.47 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.72 US cents.