Leading Index shows economic growth well below trend: ASX closes 1.3% 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 momentum to close 1.3 per cent higher. Silverlake (ASX:SLR) and Nearmap (ASX:NEA) shot up today. Shares in the Afterpay touch group (ASX:APT) slumped today - this appears to be attibituable to a broker call. Yesterday we reported Morgan Stanley classed Afterpay with a buy rating and $44.00 price target. Today, analysts at UBS rated the company as a sell. They say regulatory and execution risks are also significant and the have concerns over the US market. Meanwhile shares CYBG (ASX:CYB) rose 7 per cent. As for the sectors, Consumer Staples are leading the pack with Infotech trailing behind.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 85 points higher to finish at 6,737.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 73 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 8 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a fall of 18 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 1.3 per cent gain for tomorrow morning.

Economic news

The Leading Index growth rate has deteriorated over the last six months from –0.56% in April to –0.92 per cent in September. The main components driving the 0.36 percentage point shift have been a further weakening in dwelling approvals (–0.25 percentage points); a deterioration in consumer sentiment (–0.21ppts); a sell-off in commodity prices (–0.20 percentage points); and slower growth in monthly hours worked (–0.11 percentage points).

Company news

Sienna Cancer Diagnostics (ASX:SDX) CEO Matthew Hoskin will be stepping down from his role and will be replaced by Carl Stubbings, Carl is a highly experienced senior leader in the biotechnology and diagnostics industries, with a focus on commercialisation, sales, marketing and business development. Shares in Sienna Cancer Diagnostics (ASX:SDX) closed 11.1 per cent higher at $0.05.

Carsales.com (ASX:CAR) says that after five years, Andrew Demery Chief Financial Officer has resigned and will finish up with the company at the end of October. William Elliot who is the current carsales CFO of International & Head of Commercial Finance will step up into the position of Acting Chief Financial Officer while the company conducts a search for Andrew’s replacement. Shares in Carsales.com (ASX:CAR) closed 2.3 per cent higher at $15.61.

Engineering company Worley (ASX:WOR) has notified the ASX of its operations to the Foreign Investment Review Board, in the context of possible creeping acquisitions by its largest shareholder, Dar Group. The Board believes that it is not in shareholders’ interests for Dar to further increase its shareholding or for Worley to enter into a business cooperation agreement with Dar.
Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) has acquired a relevant interest in 59.3 per cent of Echo Resources. John Zimmerman, Echo’s Registered Manager, has been appointed as interim Chief Executive Officer.

Noxopharm (ASX: NOX) has made some changes to its senior executive and Board structures. Dr Gisela Mautner has been promoted from Global Medical Director to Chief Medical Officer, responsible for the Company’s clinical trial activities and strategy. US operations Greg Ambra has been appointed as Senior Vice-President North American Operations.

IPO

Provider of workplace management solutions Damstra Holdings (ASX:DTC) started trading today. It issued shares at $0.90 and started trading on the ASX at $1.13 and closed at $1.23.

Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector was Consumer Staples adding 2.1 per cent while the worst performing sector was Infotech, shedding 0.1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR), rising 8.3 per cent to close at $0.97. Shares in CYBG (ASX:CYB) and Nearmap (ASX:NEA) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was After Pay Touch Group (ASX:APT), dropping 7.2 per cent to close at $33.92. Shares in Southern Cross Media Group (ASX:SXL) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) followed lower.

Asian markets

Mixed Japan’s Nikkei has added 1.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.01 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.3 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,484 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.7 per cent to US$93.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of1.5 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.10 up at US$52.98 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 67.37 US cents.