We had our second day of straight gains today, with the market gaining 0.3 per cent, following its rise yesterday of 0.4 per cent. But, despite most sectors of the market making a profit today and Healthcare rising 2.6 per cent, it still wasn’t enough to claw back from the almost 1 per cent (0.9 per cent) fall we had on Tuesday.
However, we are still holding four-month highs, with reporting season coming to a close.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 19 points higher, or 0.3 per cent lower to finish at 6,169
Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 32 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 4 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a fall of 13 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 14 point rise tomorrow morning
Local economic news
Private sector credit (a measure of loans outstanding) grew 0.2 per cent in January according to the Reserve Bank of Australia, below consensus and forecasts it would grow 0.3 per cent
Ramsay Healthcare (ASX:RHC) is one of today's top performers after its results beat Citi's expectations. Its core net profit after tax (NPAT) rose about 1 per cent to $290.8 million in the half-year ending 31 December 2018, compared to the prior corresponding period. In more good news for Ramsay Healthcare, its revenue rose 15 per cent to $5.1 billion. Its earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew 10 per cent to $728.6 million. The company has declared an interim dividend of 60 cents fully franked, 4.3 per cent more than the prior corresponding period. Shares in Ramsay Healthcare (ASX:RHC) closed about 5.9 per cent higher at $64.78.
Waste management company, Bingo Industries (ASX:BIN) has announced that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will not block its acquisition of Dial-a-Dump, subject to Bingo Industries selling its Meadowbank processing facility to an ACCC approved purchaser.
Cromwell Property Group (ASX:CMW) has reported its net profit after tax grew 8 per cent to $82.6 million, in the half year to 31 December 2018. Its total assets grew to $3.7 billion, up 6 per cent on the same time last year. It declared a 3.6 cents per share distribution, on track to its full-year guidance of 7.25 cents per share.
Retail giant, Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX:HVN) has reported its profit after tax (NPAT) rose about 7.3 per cent in the half year to 31 December 2018. Its NPAT beat Citi's expectation after it hit $222.8 million.
Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) reported CY18 underlying EBITDA of US$18.1 billion, in line with Vuma consensus of US$18.2 billion and Citi’s estimate of US$18.3 billion. Rio announced a special dividend of US$4 billion (US$2.43/share) from sale proceeds, which is on top of its ordinary 2018 dividend of US$5.3 billion. Citi maintained its buy position on the stock.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was S&P/ASX Health Care adding 2.6 per cent while the worst performing sector was S&P/ASX Consumer Staples, shedding 1.4 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Bingo Industries Limited (ASX:BIN), rising 15.2 per cent to close at $1.67. Shares in Automotive Holdings Group (ASX:RHG) and Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX:RHC) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Inghams Group Limited (ASX:ING), dropping 8.2 per cent to close at $4.01. Shares in National Storage REIT (ASX:NSR)and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) followed lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has slipped 0.4 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,319 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 0.3 per cent to $83.54.
Light crude is trading $1.48 higher at US$56.98
One Australian dollar is buying 71.45 US cents.