The Australian share market started the session on good footing, however, it fell into the red just before the close after the federal government reversed a key decision to ban mortgage broker trail commissions, one of the key recommendations of the Banking Royal Commission.
Instead, of scrapping the commission, the Government will hold a review into whether trail commissions should be kept from 2020 onwards. The review will be undertaken by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Council on Federal Financial Relations.
Nevertheless, half of the sectors closed in the black with Energy leading the rally and the mining sector (Materials) following.
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.09 per cent lower or 5 points lower, at 6,175. From the outset we had positive Wall Street leads with all the main US indices gaining and the Nasdaq rising 2.2 per cent, and the S&P 500 rising 1.5 per cent despite Boeing falling 5.3 per cent after its second 737 MAX 8 jet crashed in less than 6 months.
Dow futures are suggesting a gain of 86 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 7 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a gain of 26 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 2 point rise tomorrow morning
Local economic news
Fresh data came out today suggesting further falls in householding borrowing. It comes as Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed weaker lending data for dwellings (-2.1 per cent) again drove the overall fall in lending to households, with further falls in investment dwellings lending (-4.1 per cent) and for owner occupier dwellings (-1.3 per cent).
ABS Chief Economist, Bruce Hockman says, new lending for dwellings has fallen 20 per cent from January last year, the biggest yearly decline seen since late 2008.
Network services provider Service Stream (ASX:SSM) has secured a two-year extension to its contract with Vodafone Hutchinson Australia (ASX:VHA). The contract is for wireless design and construction services. Service Stream estimates its value based on historical revenues to be in the order of $40 million over the additional two-year term. Its shares gained 2.8 per cent, closing at $2.23.
Carnegie Clean Energy (ASX:CCE) has lost its state government financial assistance for its Albany Wave Energy Project in Western Australia. The company says it's disappointed with the decision and says the project remains one of the most attractive worldwide sites to exploit the potential of wave energy.
Intellectual property services provider, IPH (ASX:IPH) has lobbed a takeover bid to buy Xenith IP Group (ASX:XIP) for $174.8 million (for about $1.97 per share).
National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) has lost another executive today, its Chief People Officer, Lorraine Murphy who decided to the big four bank. She joined NAB in March 2016. Julie Rynski, currently customer executive regional and agribusiness, will fill the shoes while a global search will take place for a permanent replacement.
Iress (ASX:IRE) provided an update ahead of its investor briefing, saying it's well placed for continued success in a changing financial services sector. 90 per cent of its revenue is recurring and its net profit rose 7 per cent in 2018 to $59.8 million.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was S&P/ASX Energy adding 0.7 per cent while the worst performing sector was S&P/ASX Consumer Discretionary, shedding 0.7 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 Wisetech Global (ASX:WTC), rising 6.1 per cent to close at $21.19. Shares in Janus Henderson Group Plc (ASX:JHG) and IOOF Holdings (ASX:IFL) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Appen (ASX:APX), dropping 9.2 per cent to close at $22.14. Shares in Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) and Ardent Leisure Group (ASX:ALG) followed lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has added 2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 1.5 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 1.6 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,297 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 2.3 per cent to US$83.79
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.1 per cent.
Light crude is $0.67 up at US$57.10 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.67 US cents.