Building work rises for Sept quarter : ASX closed 0.4% higher

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market moved cautiously this afternoon closing 0.4 per cent higher. In the UK Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal was defeated in parliament. So now either the Brexit deadline has to be extended, or Britain is leaving the EU without a deal and facing the economic consequences. Back home Ausdrill (ASX:ASL) shares are up over 8 per cent today, rebounding from the resignation of its chief financial officer. Bingo Industries also did well today Iluka Resources (ASX:ILU), dropped 4.8 per cent and shares in rare-earths mining company Lynas Corp (ASX:LYC) also ended up on the worst performers list today. As for the sectors today, Telco Services did well as Materials came out as the worst performers. At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 21 points up to finish at 5,835

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 57 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 7 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing lift of 11 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 22 point rise tomorrow morning.

Local economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released building activity figures for the September quarter. The trend estimate of the value of total building work done rose 0.4 per cent in the September 2018 quarter. The trend estimate for the value of total engineering construction work done fell 0.7 per cent.

Company news

Link Administration Holdings (ASX:LNK) says the acquisition of 100 per cent of PEXA by a consortium comprising Link Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) and Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Inc. completed today. Link Group’s interest in PEXA is 44.2 per cent. PEXA, Property Exchange Australia, is Australia's online property exchange network. Shares in Link Administration Holdings (ASX:LNK) closed 1.3 per cent higher at $7.09.

Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) has taken another major step forward in its Scarborough gas project in Western Australia, awarding four contracts for its offshore part of the project. The contracts, awarded to McDermott Australia, Subsea Integration Alliance, Saipem and Intecsea. Each contract was awarded by Woodside in its corporate capacity as a Scarborough titleholder and will be funded initially by Woodside on a 100 per cent basis.

Jewellery retailer Michael Hill (ASX:MHJ) has defied negative retail trading conditions, posting a Christmas boost for sales and improved sales momentum for the December quarter. The business reported a 2.9 per cent and 1.3 per cent rise in total sales and same store sales respectively for the combined November and December period.

Real Estate Investment Trust GPT (ASX:GPT) has announced plans to sell off its 50 per cent share of the MLC Centre. They plan to reinvest the proceeds to a new office tower in Parramatta and a tower at Melbourne Central.

Sky and Space Global (ASX:SAS) is set to expand its footprint in the US and South America after signing two new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreements. The satellite company has signed with Cobbosseecontee Communications LLC, a subsidiary of Carnegie technologies,a global communications company based in Texas. A separate agreement was signed with Arycom.

Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was Telco Services adding 1.1 per cent while the worst performing sector was Materials, shedding 0.7 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Ausdrill (ASX:ASL), rising 8.5 per cent to close at $1.28. Shares in Bingo Industries (ASX:BIN) and Invocare (ASX:IVC) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Iluka Resources (ASX:ILU), dropping 4.8 per cent to close at $7.39. Shares in Alumina (ASX:AWC) and Lynas Corp (ASX:LYC) followed lower.

Asian markets

Lower:Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,290 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 0.02 per cent at $73.78 and its futures are pointing to a lift of 0.6 per cent
Light crude is $1.47 up at $US52.27 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.02 US cents.