Housing market recovers faster than expected: Aus shares close 0.1% higher

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock

The ASX 200 opened lower, had a tumultuous start to the day but managed to stabilise over the afternoon after housing market data indicated a faster recovery than expected. Following the release of the economic data, Real Estate Investment Trusts rallied 0.5 per cent. REITs was beat out for the top performing position by Communications which capped a 1.1 per cent gain.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 7 points higher to finish at 6,691.

Futures markets

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 86 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a lift of 8 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a gain of 33 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 21 point rise tomorrow morning.

Local economic news

The Australian housing market is advancing faster than expected with the national index climbing 1.7 per cent in December, compared to the market’s expectation of a 1 per cent rise. This marks the 5th consecutive monthly rise and is the largest month on month gain since 2003. The housing market’s performance for December also managed to drag the national dwelling values into positive annual growth.

Company news

Diversified mining explorer and producer, Independence Group (ASX:IGO) is granting all Panoramic (ASX:PAN) shareholders who accepted their hostile takeover offer the right to withdraw their acceptance. This follows Independence Group’s (ASX:IGO) decision to allow the $312 million takeover offer for the nickel miner to lapse due to the breach of certain conditions. The offer is due to lapse on 17 January 2020 and without this permission to withdraw, shareholders who accepted the offer would have been unable to trade the shares prior to the offer officially lapsing. Shares in Independence Group (ASX:IGO) have shed 1.1% over the day closing at $6.17.

Wastewater treatment company SciDev (ASX:SDV) is set to acquire Highland Fluid Technology for around $6 million US dollars.

Natural gas project developer, Global Energy Ventures (ASX:GEV) has secured a 6 month extension to its letter of intent with Yantai CIMC Raffles Offshore to build 200 ships.

Reef Casino Trust (ASX:RCT) has seen a $487,000 increase in its insurance premium for 2020 in relation to the Reef Hotel Casino complex.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Communications adding 1.1 per cent while the worst performing sector was Healthcare, shedding 0.2 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), rising 8.9 per cent to close at 30 cents. Shares in Orocobre (ASX:ORE) and Nufarm (ASX:NUF) followed lower.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Polynovo (ASX:PNV), dropping 5.8 per cent to close at $1.85. Shares in AP Eagers (ASX:APE) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) followed lower.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei is closed. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 1.3 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading higher at US$1,520 an ounce.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a lift of 1.5 per cent.
Light crude is flat US$61.06 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.01 US cents.