Shares clawed back slightly after early week losses: ASX closes 0.1% higher

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market closed 0.1 per cent higher today ending the week just slightly higher not able to claw back losses from earlier in the week when there was a sell off. Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX) shares took a hit this week and continued to slide as the proposed merger with McMillan Shakespeare fell through. This halved its share price. Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) advanced this week after declaring commercial production at its Pilgangoora project in WA. Energy stocks closed the week lower following a slide in the price of oil as fear of a global slowdown peaked.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 5 points up, or 0.1 per cent higher to finish at 6181. Over the week it lost 0.2 per cent, or 15 points lower.

Futures

Dow futures are suggesting a gain of 72 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 5 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a gain of 18 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 17 point rise tomorrow morning

Local economic news

We saw private sector credit for February rise up 0.3 per cent month-on-month.
Expected was 0.2 per cent m/m, the prior figure was 0.2 per cent.

Year-on-year it was up 4.2 per cent which was expected. The prior figure was 4.3 per cent.

Company news 

Australian shrimp farmer Seafarms Group (ASX:SFG) is thrilled that the Federal Government has renewed its Major Project Status for Project Sea Dragon development. Project Sea Dragon (PSD) is a proposed, large-scale, integrated, land-based prawn aquaculture project being developed in northern Australia. The Project is designed to produce high-quality, year-round reliable prawn volumes for export markets. It has Commonwealth and Territory environmental approvals of the prawn grow-out facility to be located on Legune Station. Shares in Seafarms Group (ASX:SFG) are trading 4.8 per cent lower to $0.10.

SKYCITY Entertainment Group (ASX:SKC) has sold its Darwin business to Delaware North after obtaining all necessary approvals including from the Northern Territory Government. The sale price is $188 million for 100 per cent of the shares in SKYCITY Darwin and is expected to complete on the 4th April.

Argosy Minerals (ASX:AGY) says there is flexibility to extend the terms of the contract for additional deliveries to Mitsubishi Corporation RtM Japan for the supply from its flagship Rincon lithium project in Argentina. The volume for this preliminary Sales Agreement is up to an initial 100 metric tonnes of lithium carbonate over a 12-month period.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Healthcare adding 0.7 per cent while the worst performing sector was Utilities, shedding 0.8 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Super Retail Group (ASX:SUL), rising 5.7 per cent to close at $8.03. Shares in Estia Health (ASX:EHE) and Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX:HVN) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Eclipx (ASX:ECX), dropping 4.5 per cent to close at $0.00. Shares in Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) and Ardent Leisure Group (ASX:ALG) followed lower.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.8 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.7 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.4 per cent.

Wall Street 

The Dow Jones added 0.8 cent, The S&P 500 added 0.5 per cent and the tech heavy Nasdaq gained 0.4 per cent, across the week.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,290 an ounce.
Iron ore price dropped 0.5 per cent to US$84.68
Iron ore futures are eyeing a rise of 1.3 per cent.
Light crude is $0.10 up at US$59.51 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.92 US cents.