ASX slips from early highs as RBA keeps rates on hold: Aus shares close 0.37% higher

Market Reports

by Anna Napoli

The local market came back from an intraday highs today closing up 0.37 per cent on lower than normal volume. 7 out of 10 sectors were higher, led by Consumer Staples which rallied by 1.15 per cent. The RBA left interest rates on hold stemming a rebound on the ASX, as the board said it was too early to determine how long-lasting the impact of the coronavirus will be. Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi outperformed following analyst upgrades. Going the other way energy stocks dragged on the market after oil prices slipped to 13 month lows overnight. Meanwhile ARB was amongst the worst performers after the 4x4 company confirmed it expects to report a reduction in net profit after tax of around 7.4 per cent. In Asia the Chinese market clawed back after Monday’s more than 8 per cent sell off.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 25 points up or 0.4 per cent HIGHER to finish at 6949.

Futures Market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 182 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a lift of 21 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a jump of 66 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 24 point rise for tomorrow morning.

Local economic news

The Reserve Bank of Australia has kept the official cash rate on hold at 0.75 per cent.

Company news

Cromwell Property Group (ASX:CMW) chairman Geoffrey Levy will step down as chairman and director following the close of the board's next meeting on February 26. Leon Blitz will step into the role of Chair and Andrew Fay will become Deputy Chair. Cromwell also announced that the Board has initiated a full strategic review to consider options to maximise value for all Cromwell securityholders. Shares in Cromwell Property Group (ASX:CMW) closed flat at $1.21.

SCA Property Group (ASX:SCP) has reported statutory net profit after tax of $90.2 million for the six months to December 31, a rise of 130 per cent compared to the same period last year.The gain came on the back of its investment property valuation increase.

E-commerce Homewares retailer Temple and Webster (ASX:TPW) reported first-half revenue of $74.1 million, a 50 per cent increase on the year earlier period.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was consumer staples adding 1.2 per cent while the worst performing sector was energy, shedding 1.1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), rising 8.8 per cent to close at $0.31. Shares in Blackmores (ASX:BKL) and Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was IOOF (ASX:IFL) dropping 2.7 per cent to close at $7.49. Shares in Oil Search (ASX:OSH) AND Origin energy (ASX:ORG) followed lower.

Asian markets

Tokyo'sNikkei gained 0.4 per cent
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 1.1 per cent
Shanghai compositeis up 0.4 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,575 an ounce. Iron ore 5.5 lower futures suggest a fall of 2.9 per cent
Light crude is US$0.20 down at US$49.91 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 67.18 US cents.