ASX backtracks despite Wall St records: Aus shares lose 0.7% on week

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

Australian share market closed in the red for the second straight day in a row, closing lower over the week as well.

Today we had mostly stronger leads to follow with Wall Street mostly gaining overnight, with the S&P 500 rising 0.9 per cent and closing off the best January since 1987.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 2 points lower or 0.03 per cent lower, virtually flat closing at 5,863 points. Over the week we lost 43 points or 0.7 per cent.

Futures

Dow futures are suggesting a gain of 11 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a fall of 2 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a fall of 32 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 7-point rise

Local economic news

Australia’s manufacturing index bounced back into positive territory, rising 2.5 points to a reading of 52.5 in January 2019, taking the index (The Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI)), back above the key 50-point threshold level, which separates expansionary and contraction phase). It was also welcome news as the industry was expected to only grow to a reading of 51. The growth largely came on the back of mild improvements in sales, new orders, exports and production.

Meantime, the cost of various business costs, known as producer prices or the producer price index (PPI) rose 0.5 per cent in the December quarter, according to the ABS. This was less than the consensus expected of 0.6 per cent.

Company news 

WorleyParsons (ASX:WOR) has advised its steps closer to buying Jacobs ECR, after it received European Commission clearance and Canadian Competition Bureau clearance to proceed. Shares in WorleyParsons (ASX:WOR) closed 1.7 per cent higher at $14.11

One of the ASX's top gainers today was Healthscope (ASX:HSO) with its shares hitting an eight-month high after the private hospital operator agreed to go ahead with the $4.4 billion Brookfield takeover.

WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) shares gained 1.6 per cent, after it snapped up a leading Norwegian customs and logistics provider, Systema AS, for $3 million upfront, with a further multi-year earn-out potential of $2.7 million for business and product integration, and revenue performance.

Safety protection solutions company Ansell (ASX:ANN) shares fell slightly after it announced plans to snap up a leading supplier of speciality gloves in the oil and gas industry, Ringers Gloves, for US$70 million.

One of today’s biggest ASX200 fallers was Smartgroup Corporation (ASX:SIQ) which released shares from voluntary escrow as part of the purchase of Fleet West. Its shares reversed about a week of gains falling 7, but its shares are about 12 per cent up in January.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Utilites adding 0.9 per cent while the worst performing sector was Energy, shedding 0.9 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), rising 6.2 per cent to close at $0.69. Shares in Healthscope (ASX:HSO) and ARB Corporation. (ASX:ARB) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR), dropping 8 per cent to close at $1.44. Shares in Smartgroup Corporation (ASX:SIQ) and Steadfast Group Limited (ASX:SDF) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.6 per cent.

Wall Street

Wall Street wrapped up the four trading days this week higher: The Dow Jones lost 1.1 per cent, The S&P 500 added 1.5 per cent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained 1.6 per cent

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,318 an ounce. It hit a 9-month high on Fed holding rates.
Iron ore price rose 3.4 per cent to US$85.34
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 4.1 per cent.
Light crude is $0.21 lower at US$52.02 barrel, etching its best January gain on record.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.39 US cents.