CBA boosts financials : Aus shares finish 0.5% higher

Market Reports

by Anna Napoli

The local sharemarket has closed half a per cent higher today with the sectors proving to be a bit of a mixed bag. 4 sectors were higher and 6 were lower. Financials led the market boosted by CBA’s solid first half results . Healthcare finished in the black, a rise in CSL shares following its profit update was offset by a sharp decline in Blackmores after the company downgraded its guidance and suspended its dividend. Carsales (ASX:CAR) was one of today’s standouts ,shares in the online car retailer rose over 8 per cent after it reported a 22 per cent increase in first-half profit and lifted its dividend. Tassal (ASX:TGR) was also among the best performers after the aquaculture company said it is well positioned to deliver earnings growth in the second half of FY20 and beyond. Bapcor (ASX:BAP) shares were up by over 6 per cent after it announced record revenue and earnings,
On the downside building materials company, James Hardie (ASX:JHX) shed over 3 per cent after yesterday’s release of its third quarter update. Despite a solid 17 per cent rise in net operating profit the company’s full year guidance seems to have missed the mark. and Shares in  the ARQ Group (ASX:ARQ) continued to fall after the company yesterday announced it will sell its Enterprise Services Division to Quadrant Private Equity for A$35 million.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 33 points up or 0.5 per cent higher to finish at 7088.

Futures Market
Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 58 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a lift of 7 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a jump of 33 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 31 point rise for tomorrow morning.

Company news

Aquaculture company Tassal (ASX:TGR) reported revenue of $274.49 million in the half year ended December 31, down 15.8 per cent on the previous first half.
Operating earnings (EBITDA) increased 3.4 per cent on the prior corresponding period to $66.46 million.The company said Selling and harvesting less salmon in the first half was a deliberate operational strategy to underpin strong harvest volumes and sales in the second half and next financial year. Shares in Tassal (ASX:TGR) closed 11.9 pe cent higher at $4.61.

The Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) has beaten expectations after reporting a 4.3 per cent fall in cash profit in continuing operations to $4.47 billion against expectations for $4.34 billion in a relatively upbeat first half result.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was financials adding 1.8 per cent while the worst performing sector was communication services, shedding 0.7 per cent. The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was IDP Education (ASX:IEL), rising 28.4 per cent to close at $21.42. Shares in Tassal Group (ASX:TGR) and CARSALES.COM (ASX:CAR) followed higher. The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Blackmores (ASX:BKL) dropping 12.8 per cent to close at $78. Shares in Orora (ASX:ORA) and Beach energy (ASX:BPT) followed lower.

Asian markets

Tokyo's Nikkei is up 0.5 per cent
Hong Kong's Hang Seng has gained 0.8 per cent
Shanghai composite is up 0.4 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,567 an ounce. Iron ore is 4.9 per cent higher to 86.93 futures suggest a rise of 2.7 per cent
Light crude is US$0.01 higher at US$49.95 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 67.30 US cents.