ASX hits two-month high on Navitas $2.1b T/O offer: Aus shares close 0.7% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market hit a two-month high today. From the get-go, we defied Wall Street’s negative leads after US equities fell on weaker-than-expected Chinese economic data. We opened higher and gained momentum throughout the trading session with most sectors gaining, and four sectors finishing with a profit of about 1 per cent or more with the Consumer Discretionary sector leading, after Navitas (ASX:NVT) shares hit a two year high on the back of a $2 billion takeover offer.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.7 per cent higher or 41 points up to finish at 5,815.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a gain of 149 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 16 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing gain of 47 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 41 point rise tomorrow morning

Company news

Financial services giant, Citi says it’s expecting a mixed second quarter of FY2019 for BHP (ASX:BHP). Despite that, it has the stock as a buy with a price target of $38.00. Citi says its production report will include softer volumes of iron ore, copper and petroleum, while it expects better coal volumes. The production report is due on 22 January and after that, its first half 2019 results are due on 19 February 2019. BHP shares closed 1.1 per cent higher at $33.06.

Navitas (ASX:NVT) shares hit a two year high, gaining 13 per cent to $5.53 after getting a sweetened takeover proposal of $2.1 billion from BGH Consortium, which the board intends to recommend shareholders accept. It’s an extra $116.4 million (0.325 per share), or an increased offer to $5.825 per share.

ANZ’s (ASX:ANZ) One Path Pensions and Investments (P&I) business is a step closer to possibly being bought by IOOF (ASX:IFL), after the big four bank has allowed for the P&I entity to be legally separated. The amended contract also allows the entities’ trustee to separately consider giving consent, for the purchase by IOOF.

Ausdrill’s (ASX:ASL) chief financial officer, Theresa Mlikota is leaving the mining services company, to take up the equal position as CFO at material and lime company, Adelaide Brighton (ASX:ABC). Meantime, Norway bank, Norges Bank reduced its holding in Ausdrill from about 5.3 to 4.8 per cent.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Energy adding 1.3 per cent while the worst performing sector was Telco Services, shedding 0.3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Navitas Limited (ASX:NVT), rising 13 per cent to close at $5.53. Shares in Syrah Resources Limited (ASX:SYR) and Ooh!Media Limited (ASX:OML) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Ausdrill Limited (ASX:ASL), dropping 5.3 per cent to close at $1.18. Shares in Speedcast International Limited (ASX:CCL) and Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (ASX:CCL) followed lower.

Asian markets

Higher: Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.8 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1.7 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,291 an ounce.
Light crude is $0.84 lower at US$51.07 a barrel.
The Australian dollar is buying 72.15 US cents.

Jessica Amir

Finance News Network
Jessica joined FNN in January 2017 after having worked in financial advising for seven years and in TV journalism for seven years, specialising in finance, equities and analysis. She has interviewed former Prime Ministers of Australia, Tony Abbott, Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd and ex Treasurer Jo Hockey. Jessica has worked as a journalist with Sky News Business, ABC 1, ABC's The Business, ABC24 and has also been a regional Channel 7 and 9 TV reporter with Prime7 and Win News.