Flat finish: Aus shares close 0.05% higher

Market Reports

by Clive Tompkins

The Australian share market closed off the week virtually flat.

The local bourse opened higher on the back of better than expected Chinese economy growth data in the first quarter. The China data also fuelled growth in the Australian dollar to 72 cents, and the copper price hit a 9-month high.

However, after much-anticipated employment data came out at 11.30am, the local bourse sank into the red, where it remained for much of the afternoon.

At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 3 points higher to finish at 6,260.

Futures

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 70 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 7 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a fall of 21 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 5 point fall.

Economic news

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose 0.1 per cent to 5 per cent in March 2019, according to the ABS, as expected by the market and economists. The participation rate rose slightly, by 0.1 per cent, to 65.7 per cent. Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted number of employed people rose by 26,000, beating CBA economists’ expectations and consensus. The fresh data follows the unemployment rate falling to 4.9 per cent in February, a rate that hasn’t been seen in a decade.

Company news

Whitehaven Coal’s (ASX:WHC) Winchester South metallurgical coal project has been declared a ‘Coordinated Project’, of strategic significance, by the Queensland Government’s Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning. The project is 30km south-east of Moranbah in Queensland’s Bowen Basin. The Project will entail up to $1 billion in capital expenditure and create 500 jobs during construction and 450 jobs when operating, to produce high-quality metallurgical coal for export to the Asian market. Shares in Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) closed 6.4 per cent higher at $4.46.

Kogan.com (ASX:KGN) has announced a 17.5 per cent lift in its gross transaction value growth, with bolstered results coming from increased customers across their Mobile, Travel, Retail and Kogan Marketplace businesses. Kogan Insurance business revenue rose 73.6 per cent year-on-year, while Kogan Internet customers grew 78.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) has seen a 14.65 per cent rise in total revenue in the March 2019 quarter compared to the same period in 2018, with the headline figure hitting $1.4 billion on the back of higher oil prices. However, year-to-date and quarterly production fell to 21.7 million barrels of oil equivalent, amid cyclone activity disruptions.

Gold producer Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) has been granted a further 10-year extension to its Syama Gold Mine mining permit and has had its income tax rate dropped from 35 per cent to 25 per cent via a new Mining Convention with the Mali Government.

IPOs

Next Science Limited (ASX:NXS) started trading today. The company is commercialising and developing a non-toxic technology for treating infections. It floated with an issue price of $1.00, opened at $1.40 and closed at $1.39.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Energy adding 1.1 per cent while the worst performing sector was Health Care, shedding 1.3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC), rising 6.4 per cent to close at $4.46. Shares in Ardent Leisure Group (ASX:ALG) and Treasure Wine Estates (ASX:TWE) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) , dropping 11.6 per cent to close at $1.64. Shares in Orocobre (ASX:ORE) and Austrailan Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,273 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 1.6 per cent to US$93.23.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.7 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.53 lower at US$63.85 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.85 US cents.