Morning push loses momentum: ASX closes 1.1% higher

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

After a good run this morning the Australian share market peaked at around 11:30am and then continued to fall as the day progressed but managed to close 1.1 per cent higher. Australia joined the recent slump in global manufacturing as domestic manufacturing activity has gone backwards for the first time in more than two years. As for the sectors, Energy led the way with Real Estate Investment Trust marginally falling behind. At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 64 points higher, to finish at 5,683.

Futures

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 90 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 7 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing lift of 19 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 71 point rise tomorrow.

Economic news

The Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index fell 1.8 points to 49.5 points in December (seasonally adjusted). A fall below 50-points threshold signaled the first mild contraction in manufacturing conditions in 26 months and the lowest result since August 2016.

Company news

RCR Tomlinson's (ASX:RCR) energy service business has been sold to The Environmental Group. The acquisition will initially be funded from EGL’s existing debt facilities and is expected to complete within the first half of January 2019. RCR Energy Service is a leading service provider for heat transfer plant and equipment and operates from facilities around Australia. Administrators are handling the deal and at their wish, the purchase price will be withheld until the end of January. Shares in RCR Tomlinson (ASX:RCR) last traded at $0.87.

Healius (ASX:HLS) has rejected a non-binding takeover bid from China's Jangho Group.The board of the medical centre and pathology company says the $2 billion dollar bid is opportunistic and fundamentally undervalues Healius.

Pushpay (ASX:PPH) has achieved its break even monthly cash flow target and is now processing over US$5 billion. The company, which is the leading payments and engagement provider to the US faith sector, has confirmed its revenue guidance of between US$97.5 million to 100.5 million for the year ending 31 March 2019.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Energy adding 2.4 per cent while the worst performing sector was REITs, shedding 0.5 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Emeco Holdings (ASX:EHL), rising 10.3 per cent to close at $2.09. Shares in Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) and Seven Group Holdings (ASX:SVW) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Healius (ASX:HLS),dropping 6.2 per cent to close at $2.58. Shares in Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) and St Barbara (ASX:SBM) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 2.8 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.7 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.4 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,290 an ounce.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.5 per cent
Light crude is $0.87 up at $US47.96 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.34 US cents.