US futures mostly lower ahead of Fed Chair testimony: Aus shares close 0.4% lower

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market had its first positive day of trade after closing lower for the last two sessions (Monday and Tuesday). Most of the sectors were higher throughout the session with the most gains being seen before noon and the market gaining 0.7 per cent earlier. However, the local bourse failed to maintain moment, with the US futures lacking direction ahead of the Fed Chair testimony this evening and the ASX200 ended 0.3 per cent higher on Wednesday.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.4 per cent or 24 points higher (recouping yesterday’s minor loss (0.1 per cent) and finished at 6,690 on Wednesday.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 17 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 5 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a fall of 12 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 29 point rise.

Economic news

Australian construction work completed in the March 2019 quarter fell 2.2 per cent, while year-on-year it stumbled 6.5 per cent, according the latest figures from the ABS.

Meantime, the ABS also released data on building activity which was not as stark. Year-on-year building activity fell 1 per cent in the March 2019 quarter, and 0.9 per cent in the quarter (in trend terms), with new residential building falling the most, 2.3 per cent in the quarter.

Company news

Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) has released its preliminary operation results for FY19 with costs (AISC) for FY19 being larger than expected, hitting $924 per ounce (guidance was between $850 and $900 per ounce). Gold production for FY19 hit 753,001 ounces, while guidance was 720,000 to 770,000 ounces. However in good news, Evolution Mining's cash balance increased by $79.4 million to $335.2 million and bank debt reduced by $30 million to A$300.0 million. Shares in Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) closed 2.3 per cent lower at $4.32

Bell Financial Group (ASX:BFG) shares rose 7.7 per cent today, hitting an eight-month high after it announced its 1H19 profit will be 59 per cent higher than the same time last year’s result.

Alliance Aviation Services (ASX:AQZ) has inked a deal to buy five more Fokker 100 Aircraft. This acquisition builds on their fleet with the purchase of 21 Fokker aircraft in December 2015.

Automotive Holdings Group (ASX:AHG) has completed the sale of its interest in Motorcycle Distributors Australia, to Austrian-based company KTM Sportmotorcycles.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was S&P/ASX Consumer Staples adding 1.9 per cent while the worst performing sector was S&P/ASX Materials, shedding 0.5 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was The A2 Milk Company Limited (ASX:A2M), rising 8 per cent to close at $15.66. Shares in Premier Investments Limited (ASX:PMV) and Pinnacle Investment Management Group Limited (ASX:PNI) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX:PLS), dropping 4.9 per cent to close at $0.49. Shares in Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX) and South32 Limited (ASX:S32) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.03 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 0.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,391 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 2.7 per cent to US$121.57
Iron Ore futures suggest a fall of 0.8 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.62 up at US$58.13 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 69.20 US cents.