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Shares overcome weak start to close higher

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The share market has closed slightly higher as strength in bank and healthcare stocks offset falls by energy companies, as investors wait on key political events overseas.

CommSec market analyst Steven Daghlian said the market slipped between positive and negative territory as nervous investors wait for Thursday night’s UK election, a rate decision by the European Central Bank and former FBI chief James Comey’s Senate testimony in the US.

“The market has been treading water because of the UK election, ECB and the former FBI boss’s testimony,” he said.

“The energy sector has come under the most pressure, triggered by a five per cent fall in the oil price overnight due to reports that oil supplies in the US have lifted a lot more than what most analysts had expected.”

The mining sector, in particular gold miners, plus Telstra and high-yielding stocks such as Sydney Airport also weighed on the market, Mr Daghlian said.

The big four banks found support as bargain hunters swoop in following recent sell-offs, and healthcare companies, particularly CSL, performed strongly.

“CSL is the standout and is the single biggest contributor to the market’s improvements after a broker upgraded the stock with a more positive outlook on the company over the next 12 months,” Mr Daghlian said.

CSL rose three per cent to $135.32, while the big four banks’ gains ranged from Commonwealth Bank’s 0.7 per cent to National Australia Bank’s one per cent lift.

Woodside Petroleum was one of the worst performers, as it said its joint venture partner at an offshore Senegal oilfield had declined to support the company’s takeover of the field’s operations.

Woodside dropped 1.6 per cent, while Oil Search fell 0.9 per cent and Caltex Australia was 2.6 per cent weaker.

Telstra shares were down 1.35 per cent to $4.40.

The Australian dollar recovered from a midday dip on weaker than expected local trade numbers, to be trading at 75.5 US cents at 1630 AEST.

Mr Daghlian said the currency recovered as the market realised the fall in the trade surplus was largely due to Cyclone Debbie’s impact on Queensland coal exports.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 9.4 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 5,676.6 points at the close.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up seven points, or 0.12 per cent, at 5,714.8 points.

* The June SPI200 futures contract was up 16 points, or 0.28 per cent, at 5,680 points.

* National turnover was 1.9 billion securities traded worth $5.9 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST

CURRENCY ASK BID PREVIOUS

AUD/USD 0.755 0.7549 0.7546

AUD/JPY 82.74 82.72 82.87

AUD/EUR 0.6711 0.6708 0.6704

AUD/NZD 1.0485 1.0477 1.0488

AUD/GBP 0.582 0.5819 0.5824

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,287.07 per fine ounce, down from $US1,292.10 per fine ounce on Wednesday

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.6968pct, up from 1.6852pct

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.406pct, up from 2.384pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* June 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.57 (implying a yield of 2.43 pct), from 97.59 (2.41pct) on Wednesday

* June 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.26 (1.74pct), from 98.27 (1.73pct).

(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEST previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session)

Published on: Thursday, June 08, 2017

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