Retail sales rose 2.5% for December quarter: ASX closed 3.4% higher for the week

Market Reports

by Melissa Darmawan

It has been a positive day of trade for the Australian share market. After opening higher, it continued its momentum to close the week off strong. At the closing bell, the ASX closed 75 points or 1.1 per cent higher to 6841. Over the week, we closed 3.4 per cent or 233 points higher. All sectors gained ground today except utilities and materials. Industrials led the charge with the likes of Transurban (ASX:TCL) up 3 per cent and Sydney Airport (ASX:SYD) up 2.7 per cent. Newscorp (ASX:NWS) surged after posting solid results while REA Group (ASX:REA), helped lift the communications sector after reporting a 13 per cent increase in half year profits. Oil companies also rose following upwards moves in its futures.

Futures

Dow futures are suggesting a gain of 56 points. S&P 500 futures are eyeing a lift of 8 points. The Nasdaq futures are up 39 points. And the SPI futures are eyeing a rise of 76 points

Local economic news

Australia Bureau of Statistics have released retail sales data for the December quarter. Retail sales volumes rose 2.5 per cent seasonally adjusted following a 6.5 per cent rise in the September quarter 2020.

Company news

Lung imaging company, Cyclopharm (ASX:CYC) has secured a research and development tax incentive for the financial year 2020.The research and development incentive totals to $3.10 million.The cash rebate is related to its overseas research and domestic development activities for Technegas, a a lung ventilation imaging agent inhaled by a patient suspected to have pulmonary embolism and may also have applications to fight against Covid-19. Shares in Cyclopharm (ASX:CYC) closed 0.4 per cent lower at $2.80.

Newscorp (ASX:NWS) has posted its most profitable second quarter since relaunch 7 years ago. The media conglomerate reported second quarter net income of$US261 million up from $US103 million for prior corresponding period.

Splitit Payments (ASX:SPT) has signed a $US150 million receivables funding facility with Goldman Sachs.The online payments company says the facility is at a lower cost than it’s existing funding and it is expected to increase Splitit’s gross margins over time.

Medibank (ASX:MPL) has snapped up a 33.4 per cent stake in primary clinic operator Myhealth Medical Group.The company says the acquisition will strengthen
its focus on preventative health and doctor-led partnerships.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is information technology gaining 2.4 per cent while the worst performing sector is utilities dropping 0.3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Newscorp (ASX:NWS) rising 13.2 per cent to $28.41, followed by shares in ZipCo (ASX:Z1P) and Virgin Money (ASX:VUK).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Janus Henderson Group (ASX:JHG) fell 5.6 per cent to $40.19, followed by shares in CSR (ASX:CSR) and South32 (ASX:S32).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has gained 1.2 per cent Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 0.5 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is 0.4 per cent higher.

Wall St

Over the last four trading days, Wall St finished higher. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 3.5 per cent. The S&P 500 added 4.1 per cent while the NASDAQ rose 5.1 per cent.

Commodities

Gold is trading at US$1,797 an ounce.
Iron ore is 3.5 per cent higher at US$158.03
Futures are suggesting a rise of 5.2 per cent.
Light crude is 24 cents higher at US$53.05.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.94 US cents.