ASX raises the bar again, another 7-month high, defying Wall St: ASX adds 0.3% on Thurs

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market is continuing to raise to bar higher in 2019, setting another 7-month high today with most of the sectors rising. We also continued to defy negative Wall Street leads that we had from the get-go, proving our resilience.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 18 points higher, or 0.3 per cent to finish at 6,264 points.

Futures

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 57 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 6 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a fall of 14 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 17 point rise tomorrow morning

Local economic news

The construction industry continued to contract in February, remaining under the key 50 level of breakeven. It comes as AiG released its Performance of Construction Index score, with the reading coming in at 43.8 in February. Nevertheless, the figure modestly improved over the month, rising 0.7 points.

Australia’s balance of trade bolstered in January, rising to a surplus of $4.5 billion, jumping 21 per cent from December 2018’s $3.8 billion seasonally adjusted term surplus, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The headline balance on goods and services imports and exports (balance of trade) also beat consensus and forecast the surplus would be $3 billion and $2.8 billion (respectively).

Australian retail sales rose 0.1 per cent in January 2019, falling short of consensus expectations of a 0.3 per cent rise. However, retail turnover improved in comparison to the 0.4 per cent fall in December 2018.

Company news

The owner of Super Cheap Auto, Macpac, Rebel and BCF Super Retail Group (ASX:SUL) has appointed retail executive Gary Williams to lead the group’s Sports division as Managing Director. Gary Williams is currently chief operating officer at Alceon Retail Group, sitting on the executive committee for the EziBuy and SurfStitch. Gary Williams will join the group leadership team from 8 April 2019. Super Retail Group (ASX:SUL) gained 4.8 per cent, closing at $7.62.

The National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) announced interim group chief executive officer, and a current director Philip Chronican, will be the next chairman of the big four bank, replacing Ken Henry AC later this year. Phil has been in the role of group CEO from 1 March 2019 and doesn’t intend to be considered for the permanent CEO role.

CIMIC’s (ASX:CIM) mining service provider, Thiess, has inked a $172 million contract extension, to increase coal production, overburden removal and continue to provide mining services in Melak in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. The 12-month contract extension with Bayan Resource also involves drilling, blasting and coal loading to the barge facility, taking the Melak contract through to 2023. Shares CIMIC (ASX:CIM) are trading 1.3 per cent higher at $50.95 at noon.

Restaurant Brands’ (ASX:RBD) full-year sales are up 7.2 per cent to $794.0 million with strong growth in overseas operations. Australian KFC outlets produced sales of $184.4 million, up 27.8 per cent on a total basis with a full year’s trading from last year’s acquisitions, and 4.7 per cent on the same store basis. 

IPO

Mining Exploration company, Canterbury Resources Limited (ASX:CBY) started trading today. It issued shares at $0.30, floated at $0.27 and closed at $0.265.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was S&P/ASX Telco Services adding 1.2 per cent, followed by Utilities, Consumer Discretionary and Staples, while the worst performing sector was S&P/ASX Materials, shedding 0.3 per cent. While the smaller IT sectors fell the most outside of the major sectors.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Super Retail Group (ASX:SUL), rising 4.81 per cent to close at $7.62. Shares in Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC) and Elders (ASX:ELD) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), dropping 4.8 per cent to close at $92.05 Shares in Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) and Speedcast International (ASX:SDA) followed lower.

Asian markets

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 0.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,287 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 0.8 per cent to US$87.03
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.5 per cent.
Light crude is $0.37 lower at US$56.19 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.47 US cents