Healthy mar­ket sees five days of gains

The West Australian - - WESTBUSINE­SS - Derek Rose

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

$13.89, re­spec­tively.

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¢.

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