Healthy market sees five days of gains
The Australian sharemarket closed at an 111⁄2-year high as a broad rally boosted most sectors by more than one per cent.
The benchmark S&P/ ASX200 index finished up 102.4 points, or 1.59 per cent, to 6546.3 points yesterday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 99.2 points, or 1.52 per cent, to 6624.4.
It was the ASX200’s fifth day of gains in a row and its thirdbest day of the year.
After Monday’s public holiday in the Eastern States, the local bourse had catching up to do to follow gains overseas, said CMC chief market strategist Michael McCarthy.
But, he added: “I think the size of it has taken some by surprise.
“We’ve basically been rising from the get-go.”
All sectors had strong gains except the defensive sector of utilities and the subsector of gold mining.
Surprisingly, health care — typically also thought of as a defensive sector — was up the most, by 3.5 per cent.
Pharma giant CSL was up 4.3 per cent to a nine-month high of $212.50. Clinuvel was up 8 per cent, Avita Medical up 5.9 per cent and
Cochlear up 3 per cent, while
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare bucked the trend and fell 1.5 per cent.
Mr McCarthy said there may have been overseas money coming into the Australia market as traders bet that a likely US rate cut would depress the greenback against the Aussie.
“These are the stocks that are well-known internationally,” Mr McCarthy said of the healthcare shares that gained, noting that private hospital and nursing home operators did not gain as much.
Energy stocks were collectively up 1.8 per cent, with Caltex Australia and WorleyParsons both gaining 3.7 per cent, to rise to $27.15 and
Woodside Petroleum closed up 1.5 per cent to
$35.15 despite problems at the Pluto LNG plant causing the operator to warn its 2019 production would be at the lower end of its guidance of between 88 million and 94 million barrels of oil equivalent.
Miners were up 1.4 per cent as a whole, with BHP gaining 2.3 per cent to $38.70 and Fortescue Metals Group up 3.2 per cent to $8.10.
Aerial imaging company
Nearmap was the bigger gainer among the ASX200, up 9.4 per cent to a one-week high of $3.50.
The Star Entertainment Group was the biggest loser, sliding 16 per cent to a 31⁄2-year low of $3.80 after the casino operator flagged a full-year earnings dip amid continued weakness in international VIP spending.
Small business lender
Prospa Group made its debut on the ASX, closing at
$4.46, up 18 per cent on its initial public offering.
The financial sector was up 1.3 per cent, with the four big banks — NAB, ANZ, Westpac and Commonwealth — all up.
The Aussie dollar was buying US69.55¢.
Kalium Lakes closed at an all-time high after it became the first aspiring potash producer to secure full environmental approval for its project. The State Government nod, which comes after Federal clearance in January, opens the way for Kalium to secure low-cost, long-tenor debt financing for its Beyondie project 160km south-east of Newman. Kalium closed up 3.5¢, or 6 per cent, at 63.5¢.
Sheffield Resources remained in the sin bin with investors yesterday, despite announcing it would tweak the bankable feasibility study for its Thunderbird mineral sands project in the Kimberley in a bid to defer initial capital expenditure and replace ilmenite revenue with zircon revenue, to improve its economics. Its shares fell 1.5¢, or 4 per cent, to a three-year low of 35¢.