The Australian share market gained for the fifth straight session, starting with the week with a profit of 0.2 per cent. We were trading higher earlier in the session, hitting a new three-month high but profit taking in tech stocks and selling in mining stocks held us back.
From the get-go-we had positive leads to follow, after US equities and the Dow, in particular, had its best week in five-months, on the back of positive China and US trade talks.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 11 points or 0.2 per cent higher to finish at 5,890 points. That leaves the S&P/ASX 200 (ASX:XJO) 6 per cent higher this year.
Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 53 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 5 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing fall of 17 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 8 point rise tomorrow morning
Local economic news
Lending for home loans fell 1 per cent in November 2018, according to the ABS (in trend terms), while the seasonally adjusted figure was worse, with a fall of 1.4 per cent. It comes, after HIA reported new home sales dropped to their lowest level since 2012, with their rate dropping 6.7 per cent in December, following the prior month’s 3.6 per cent rise.
Asian American Medical Group (AAMG) (ASX:AJJ) signed a letter of intent with Hainan Boao International Hospital Co (BIH), to set up medical specialist clinics at the Boao International Hospital (BIH) (which is in the Hainan Boao Lecheng International Medical Tourism Pilot Zone). Founder of the company, AAMG, prominent liver surgeon Dato’ Dr Tan Kai Chah, will take a group of Singapore medical specialists to the hospital, in the Pilot Zone, and provide specialist treatment and consultant for liver, pancreas and bile ducts diseases. AAMG (ASX:AJJ) shares last traded at $0.14.
Ausdrill (ASX:ASL) was one of the best-performing stocks today, rising 4.6 per cent after it won a number of mining services contracts in Western Australia worth $171 million. The deal includes a three-year underground mining services contract with Regis Resources (ASX:RRL).
Scrap metal recycling company, Sims Metal Management (ASX:SIM) was one of the worst performing stocks today, losing 16.1 per cent, after it announced a challenging first half and that it expected first-half FY19 underlying EBIT of about $110 million
Copper producer, Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR) has quashed media speculation saying it is interested in potentially combining with MOD Resources (ASX:MOD). However, any such merger would be subject to due diligence, the recommendation of the MOD board and execution of binding documentation. Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR) shares fell 0.6 per cent.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was S&P/ASX Consumer Discretionary adding 1.2 per cent while the worst performing sector was S&P/ASX Materials, shedding 0.2 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pact Group Holdings Ltd (ASX:PGH), rising 6.9 per cent to close at $3.87. Shares in TPG Telecom Limited (ASX:TPM) and Ausdrill Limited (ASX:ASL) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sims Metal Management Limited (ASX:SGM), dropping 16.1 per cent to close at $9.19. Shares in Afterpay Touch Group Limited (ASX:APT) and St Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM) followed lower.
Higher:Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.7 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,282 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.5 per cent to US$75.70
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 2.7 per cent.
Light crude is $1.68 up at US$54.04 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.70 US cents.