WAAX on, Appen & Wisetech shine: Aus shares close with a minor loss of 4 pts

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market opened higher, with miners seeing a healthy rally after the iron ore price rose 1.5 per cent to $105.32 (trading above $105 for the first time since 2014) with Fortescue (ASX:FMG) gaining 2.8 per cent and Rio (ASX:RIO) gaining 1.8 per cent.

But it was some of the WAAX stocks that propelled the Tech sector as today’s best performing area, after Appen (ASX:APX) rose 4.6 per cent, extending its yearly gain to 150 per cent, while Wisetech (ASX:WTC) today rose 2.6 per cent, taking its yearly gain to 63 per cent.

Meantime we did have those positive US leads from Friday's session after US President Donald Trump said the ongoing trade war could be over quickly.

But the local bourse lacked direction today, with the US and UK markets both closed on Monday for public holidays and five sectors closed with a loss, as there is no US futures to guide from. 

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.06 per cent or 4 points lower to finish at 6,452. The SPI futures are 6 points lower.

Company news

Suncorp (ASX:SUN) announced its CEO and Managing Director Michael Cameron will be leaving the bank after almost four years in the role and seven years on the board. Group CFO Steve Johnston will become acting CEO. Deputy CFO Jeremy Robson will step up to acting Group CFO, while the board completes ‘the succession process’. The outgoing CEO, Michael Cameron will stay in an advisory capacity till 9 August 2019, after Suncorp’s full year results. Shares in Suncorp (ASX:SUN) closed 2.2 per cent lower at $13.60.

Vocus Group (ASX:VOC), shares rose 17 per cent to $4.55, after it received a $5.25 cash per share takeover from EQT Infrastructure. The telco received a confidential, non-binding, indicative proposal from EQT Infrastructure. Vocus appointed UBS to act as its financial adviser.

Air New Zealand (ASX:AIZ) has dropped its 2019 earnings before taxation guidance, on the back of a $25 million headwind from higher jet fuel prices. Its earnings is now expected to exceed $340 million, down from the prior range of between $340 to $400 million. Earlier today AIZ unveiled plans to buy 8 Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft, powered by GE Aviation, which are valued at US$2.7 billion.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (ASX:FPH) announced its net profit after tax rose 10 per cent to NZ$209.2 million, a record result for the 2019 year. It also hit a milestone of NZ$1 billion in revenue, after operating revenue rose 9 per cent. A final dividend of 13.5 cents per share, carrying full NZ imputation credit, will be paid on 5 July 2019.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was S&P/ASX Info Tech adding 1.3 per cent while the worst performing sector was S&P/ASX Communication Services, shedding 1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Vocus Group Limited (ASX:VOC), rising 17 per cent to close at $4.55. Shares in Appen Limited (ASX:APX) and Oz Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Seven West Media Limited (ASX:SWM), dropping 5.6 per cent to close at $0.51. Shares in Elders Limited (ASX:ELD) and Emeco Holdings Limited (ASX:EHL) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 1.3 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,287 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.5 per cent to US$105.32
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 5.9 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.72 up at US$58.63 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 69.33 US cents.