Abacus plans to divest $31m in assets: ASX up 2% over week

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock

The ASX200 opened slightly higher this morning, took a sharp dip an hour into the session and has been clawing back ground throughout the afternoon to close flat. Over the week the market gained 2 per cent with all of the sectors except Materials and Communications capping gains. Abacus Property Group (ASX:ABP) plans to divest $31 million in assets and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield's (ASX:URW) proportionate turnover was up 70.2 per cent in the first quarter due to the acquisition of Westfield Corporation.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 4 points or 0.1 per cent higher to finish at 6,386.

Over the week, the market has gained 126 points.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 11 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 1 point.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a lift of 8 points.
And the ASX200 futures are flat.

Economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released its Producer Price Indexes for the month of March. Final demand excluding exports rose 0.4 per cent for the March quarter and 1.9 per cent year on year.

The ABS also released International Trade Price Indexes for the month of March. The Import Price Index fell 0.5 per cent in the March quarter of 2019. This offsets a rise of the same amount in the preceding December quarter. The Export Price Index for the March quarter rose 4.5 per cent. This follows a rise in the December quarter 2018 of 4.4 per cent.

Company news

Abacus Property Group (ASX:ABP) has penned an agreement to divest three residential development projects and an investment property to an offshore property group for $31 million. This accords with its strategy of reducing exposure to the residential property sector. The settlement proceeds will be utilised to reduce debt. Shares in Abacus Property Group (ASX:ABP) closed 2.7 per cent higher at $3.82.

Shopping centre developer and operator, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) has released its results for the first quarter of 2019 which show that proportionate turnover was 939.6 million Euros, up 70.2 per cent. This has been attributed to the acquisition of Westfield Corporation.

Diversified explorer White Rock Minerals (ASX:WRM) and its joint venture partner Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR) have commenced an airborne electromagnetic geophysical survey at the Red Mountain zinc and precious metals VMS project in Alaska.

Forestry company, Midway (ASX:MWY), has secured a higher plantation hardwood price from Japanese customers for the remainder of the 2019 calendar year.

Prospector, Altura (ASX:AJM), has completed the initial round of exploratory drilling at its Cleopatra Gold Prospect

WAM Leaders (ASX:WLE) has appointed Ross Finley to the board of directors. 

National Veterinary Care (ASX:NVL) has penned conditional binding agreements to acquire two veterinary clinics in New Zealand for $3.94 million.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Utilities adding 1.7 per cent while the worst performing sector was Energy, shedding 1.5 per cent.

The best performing stock was Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR) adding 5.5 per cent to close at $2.70. Shares in Nanosonics (ASX:NAN) and Nearmap (ASX:NEA) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Flight Centre Travel Group (ASX:FLT),dropping 11.7 per cent to close at $39. Shares in Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) and WorleyParsons (ASX:WOR) followed lower.

Asian markets 

Mixed:Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.7 per cent.

Wall Street

Wrapped up our four trading days this week mixed: The Dow Jones lost 0.4 per cent, the S&P 500 added 0.7 per cent and the tech heavy Nasdaq gained 1.5 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,281 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 0.1 per cent to US$93.50.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.3 per cent.
Light crude is 78 cents lower at US$65.11 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.25 US cents.