Aussie market shakes off virus concerns: ASX closes 0.6% higher

Market Reports

by Anna Napoli

The Aussie market rebounded from two consecutive sessions of losses to come within three-week highs today. Gains were made across the board with every sector pushing higher led by tech. Earnings results were front and centre with Challenger the standout today surging 13 per cent, Transurban also lifted after announcing a 9.5 per cent increase in earnings. Cochlear dropped over 3 per cent after warning the coronavirus will hit its full-year profit growth and Suncorp was also under pressure as the financial services firm missed expectations.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 43 points up or 0.6 per cent higher to finish at 7055.

Futures Market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 73 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a lift of 11 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a jump of 49 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 42 point rise for tomorrow morning.

Local economic news

Business confidence and conditions were unchanged at +3 index points in January according to NAB’s monthly business survey. Confidence edged higher but remains weak after reaching its lowest level since mid-2013 last month. There also appears to have been some impact – from the bushfires with conditions lower in NSW and Vic in the month.

Company news

Arq Group (ASX:ARQ) has announced it will sell its Enterprise Services Division to Quadrant Private Equity for A$35 million on a cash and debt free basis. Shares in Arq Group (ASX:ARQ)12.5 per cent lower at 32 cents.

Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) has reduced its annual production guidance due to weak demand with a 2 per cent fall in underlying NPAT to $273.5 million.

Downer EDI (ASX:DOW) has hit back at media reports in the Australian regarding the sale of its oil and gas operations. Downer says the business is not for sale and no consideration is being given to its sale.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was tech adding 1.7 per cent while the sector with the least gains was consumer staples, up 0.4 per cent. The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Challenger (ASX:CGF), rising 13.9 per cent to close at $10.10. Shares in Steadfast group (ASX:SDF) and polynovo (ASX: PNV) followed higher.The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Evolution Mining  (ASX:EVN) dropping 3.9 per cent to close at $3.90. Shares in JB Hi-Fi (ASX:JBH) and Cochlear (ASX:COH) followed lower.

Asian markets

Tokyo's Nikkei is flat
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 1.3 per cent
Shanghai composite is up 0.5 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,568 an ounce. Iron ore 0.8 per cent lower to 82.88 futures suggest a rise of 4.4 per cent
Light crude is US$0.08 higher at US$49.65 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 67.12 US cents.