ASX hits a fresh 13-month high: Aus shares close 0.5% higher

Market Reports

by Melissa Darmawan

Text only (non-video) article.

The Australian sharemarket continued its winning streak for the third day setting a new a 13-month high at 7,058.6 points. Materials and energy shares were among the few bright stars on the market while the big four banks ended higher. Big names such as BHP and Rio Tinto closed 2.6 and 2.9 per cent higher while biotech giant CSL closed in positive territory. Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) shares jumped 1.6 per cent hitting their 12 month high while Ampol (ASX:ALD) took the spotlight as the best performing stock following their positive March quarter results. Meanwhile, buy now pay later Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) closed 6.8 per cent lower with Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) tumbling 15.4 per cent after post its quarterly production report and revised FY21 guidance. At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.51 per cent or 35.50 points higher at 7058.60.

Futures

The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 80 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 9 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 31 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 38 points tomorrow morning.

Local economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released their labour force figures today for March. The unemployment rate fell to 5.6 per cent from 5.8 per cent. This is the lowest jobless rate since March last year as the economy recovers from the disruption caused by the pandemic. The participation rate increased to 66.3 per cent with 70,700 new jobs added to the economy.

The consumer inflation and wage expectations fell from 4.1 to 3.2 per cent in April as per the Melbourne Institute.

Company news

Qantas (ASX:QAN) has upgraded its estimate of domestic capacity to beyond 90 per cent of its pre-pandemic aviation activity for the June Quarter of FY21. Australia’s flag carrier is betting on the lifting of travel restrictions and reduced border closures across the country’s six states and two territories.

Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) has announced the company will restore its usual dividend payment on May 26 this year.

Transurban (ASX:TCL) reported a rise in the average daily traffic of 1.1 per cent compared to last year for the March quarter. Though when compared to 2019, it is down 3.8 per cent.

Healthcare informatics developer Alcidion (ASX:ALC) has ironed out terms for the proposed takeover of British health technology specialist ExtraMed.

Geological difficulties and rain damage have pressured Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) to lower the company’s expectations for FY21 production, sales and unit costs.

Caltex Australia owner Ampol (ASX:ALD) is riding high on momentum from the company’s March quarter results. The positive results have coincided with a strong rally in oil prices to monthly highs.

Recce Pharmaceticals’ (ASX:RCE) lead compound RECCE® 327 has been registered in the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry (ANZCTR) for its Phase I/II Topical Burns Study in humans

IPOs

Uranium explorer 92 Energy (ASX:92E) has become the first high-grade unconformity type uranium producer to float shares on the Australian sharemarket in 10 years.The company’s IPO raked in $7 million as the company issued 35 million new shares at 20 cents per share.

Asian markets

Japan's Nikkei has gained 0.1 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 0.8 per cent. The Shanghai Composite has lost 0.8 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1742.87 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.20 per cent higher at US$173.54 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 3.90 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.07 lower at US$61.05 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.21 US cents.