Mining sector hits 8-year high on iron ore rally: Aus shares close at 7-month highs, 0.7% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The local share market hit a new seven month high today after rising for the seventh straight day with the Federal Budget being mostly in line with market and analyst expectations.

The property sector erased yesterday’s gains while the show stopper today was the Materials sector (ASX:XMJ) which hit a new 8-year high on the back of the iron ore price rallying (after Vale cut production forecasts for CY19). 

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 43 points higher, or 0.7 per cent higher to finish at 6,285.

Futures

Dow futures are suggesting a gain of 91 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 13 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a gain of 42 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 37 point rise tomorrow morning

Local economic news

Retail sales surged 0.8 per cent in February according to fresh stats from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), beating consensus estimates of a 0.2 per cent rise. The massive February growth follows a soft lift of 0.1 per cent in sales in January. It comes as department store sales rose 3.5 per cent and household good sales rose 1.1 per cent. And across the country, Queensland, the ACT and the NT saw the most growth in retail trade.

Meantime, the Federal Budget was handed down last night, with the Government delivering a budget surplus of $7.1 billion in 2019-20, the first surplus in over a decade, analysts have already came out saying it delivered very few surprises.

UBS says the budget had much smaller stimulus than expected. And that reinforced UBS’ bearish GDP forecast of 1.9 per cent in 2019, while the Budget also rose the risk of earlier and larger RBA rate cuts.

Total government revenue is expected to grow to $513.8 billion in 2019-20, a rise of 3.6 per cent on estimated revenue in 2018-19, while total 2019-20 expenses are tipped to be $500.9 billion, that’s a rise of 2.8 per cent on estimated expenses from the year prior.

Company news 

Graphite and battery company, Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) shares hit a four week high today after a NZ fund manager, Harbour Asset Management became a major shareholder in the company, snapping up 5.5 per cent of its shares. Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) shares closed 8.2 per cent higher at $1.19.

McMillan Shakespeare Limited (ASX:MMS) and Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX) have formally ended their proposed merger talks after terminating the scheme implementation agreement. McMillan Shakespeare pulled the plug on the proposed merger earlier this month with the firm saying the deal was not in the best interests of its shareholders for a number of reasons, including Eclipx Group’s (ASX:ECX) financial results which missed expectations, after its profit fell 42 per cent. Eclipx will reimburse McMillan $8 million in costs.

Spark New Zealand (ASX:SPK) announced Simon Moutter has resigned from his positions as Managing Director and as a Director of the Company with effect from 30 June 2019, after being with the company for over seven years. Jolie Hodson, has been appointed to take the hot seat as Spark’s new Chief Executive from 1 Jul 2019. Jolie is currently Customer Director at Spark.

Senex Energy (ASX:SXY) has begun civil works at the Jemena-owned natural gas processing facility at Project Atlas in Queensland's Surat Basin. Senex partnered with Jemena on the project to build the facility and deliver gas to the local market by late 2019. Senex is investing around $250 million and supporting a further $140 million of investment.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was S&P/ASX 200 Materials adding 1.7 per cent, followed by S&P/ASX 200 Industrials, S&P/ASX 200 Communication Services, S&P/ASX 200 Health Care. While the worst performing sector was Energy, shedding 0.3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR), rising 8.2 per cent to close at $1.19. Shares in Domain Holdings Australia (ASX:DHG) and Webjet Limited (ASX:WEB) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Smartgroup Corporation (ASX:SIQ), dropping 8.3 per cent to close at $7.42. Shares in Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) and Spark New Zealand (ASX:SPK) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.5per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,293 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.4 per cent to US$89.89
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 4.8 per cent.
Light crude is $1 higher at US$62.59 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.06 US cents.