Westpac and NAB hit 12-month highs: ASX closed 0.3% higher

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

It has been a positive day of trade for the Australian share market. After opening in the black the local bourse managed to maintain closing 0.3 per cent higher. The banks did well today - Westpac (ASX:WBC) shares rose to their highest level in over a year. They reported that their chief financial officer Peter King would stand down. NAB (ASX:NAB) also hit its highest level since August 2018 today but then dropped. As for the sectors, Real Estate Investment Trust ended up leading the sectors this afternoon with Energy coming in behind.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 17 points higher to finish at 6,655.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 75 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 9 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a lift of 42 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 0.2 per cent rise for tomorrow morning.

Company news

Comet Ridge (ASX:COI) says the Mahalo Joint Venture has lodged two Petroleum Lease Applications which will cover the initial development area for the Mahalo Gas Project. This is managed by the Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy in Queensland. It is expected that once granted, the leases will have a 30-year lease term. Gas produced will be separately marketed in the respective equity share of the MJV participants, Comet Ridge with 40 per cent, APLNG holding 30 per cent – that's with Origin (ASX:ORG) acting as upstream developer and Santos (ASX:STO) with 30 per cent. Shares in Comet Ridge (ASX:COI) are 2.8 per cent lower at $0.26.

Ruralco (ASX:RHL) is pleased to announce that the Federal Court of Australia has today made orders approving the proposed scheme of arrangement between Ruralco and its shareholders, to which Agrium Australia will acquire all of the shares on issue in Ruralco.

Ramsay Health Care (ASX:RHC) announces that Group Finance Director and Chief Financial Officer Bruce Soden, will step down from his position on the Ramsay Board effective from today.

And

The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of rural wholesale buying group Australian Independent Rural Retailers by Elders (ASX:ELD). The ACCC considered the issue of Elders’ bargaining power with manufacturers or importers of rural merchandise.

Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was Retail Estate Investment Trust adding 1.1 per cent while the worst performing sector was Energy, shedding 1.2 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Sothern Cross Media Group (ASX:SXL), rising 4.9 per cent to close at $1.28. Shares in Blackmores (ASX:BKL) and Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Nanosonics (ASX:NAN), dropping 5.2 per cent to close at $6.37. Shares in IOOF Holdings (ASX:IFL) and Bravura Solutions (ASX:BVS) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.8 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.4 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,497 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.5 per cent to US$94.66
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 2.2 per cent.
Light crude is US$1.35 down at US$55.65 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.82US cents.