Merry Christmas from FNN: ASX closes 0.3% higher

Market Reports

by Melissa Darmawan

The Australian share market rose at the open on a shortened day of trade to end 0.3 per cent higher. All of the sectors ended higher except for healthcare and utilities. Shares in Credit Corp (ASX:CCP) are up over 19 per cent after the company entered into an agreement to purchase $160 million book of debts from receivables management company, Collection House.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 22 points higher, or 0.3 per cent higher to finish at 6665.

Over the week, we closed 0.2 per cent or 11 points lower.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 72 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 8 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing lift of 20 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 41 point rise on Tuesday morning.

Broker moves

Citi has downgraded its rating for Asaleo Care (ASX:AHY) to a neutral from a buy with a price target of $1.40 from $1.30. Despite the company in progress to acquire hygiene brand, TOM Organic for $12.75 million, the broker downgrade is due to the increase in share price following the proposal from hygiene company, Essity. Citi suggests that the acquisition may encourage the company board to rebuff Essity's initial offer. Asaleo Care (ASX:AHY) closed flat at $1.37.

Company news

Brainchip Holdings (ASX:BRN) have reported that NASA have placed an order for the Akida Early Access Evaluation Kit for use at their Research Centre. The kit will enable NASA to evaluate the Akida technology for use in programs needing a neuromorphic processor that meets spaceflight requirements. Brainchip have also signed an intellectual property license agreement with Renesas Electronics America. Shares in Brainchip (ASX:BRN) closed at 29.2 per cent higher at $0.42.

Sequoia Financial (ASX:SEQ) is set to buy three customer books through the company's subsidiary Interprac Securities. The acquisition of First Option Financial Management Pty Ltd, Marshall & Company Pty Ltd and Barry Moser Pty Ltd. Is expected to add approximately $450,000 of annual recurring fee for service income. The $1 million purchase is made up of cash and shares in the company. Shares in Sequoia (ASX:SEQ) last traded at 0.50.

BHP (ASX:BHP) has met the licensing requirements to restart operations at Samarco in Brazil, five years after a waste dam collapse.

Cimic Group (ASX:CIM) has now signed relevant material documentation including financing agreements for the sale of 50 per cent of Thiess, the world’s largest mining services provider.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was energy adding 1.1 per cent while the worst performing sector was utilities shedding 0.4 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Credit Corp (ASX:CCP) rising 19.7 per cent to close at $29.76. Shares in Virgin Money (ASX:VUK) and Challenger (ASX:CGR) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Netwealth (ASX:NWL), dropping 3.2 per cent to close at $15.85. Shares in Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) and Steadfast (ASX:SDF) followed lower.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 0.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite shed 0.2 per cent.

Wall Street

The Dow Jones lost 0.2 per cent, The S&P 500 lost 0.5 per cent and the Nasdaq gained 0.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,877 an ounce.
Iron ore price gained 2.4 per cent to US$160.48.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.6 per cent.
Light crude lost US$0.03 at US$47.54 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.94 US cents.