Local shares recovered from the weaker tone that was set for the market on Thursday. The ASX 200 spent the morning in positive territory, having trade through a 30 point range which saw the index 9 points higher at the low and 39 points to better at session highs. The constructive tone reflected gains on Wall Street overnight. US sharemarkets advanced as technology names led the way. The Dow Jones was up almost 318 points, before closing 238 points or 1.0% higher. The S&P 500 index rose by 1.0%, while the Nasdaq lifted by 115 points or 1.6%.
Sector performances over the morning saw financial names lead the losses, in the process continuing yesterday’s trend. Westpac (WBC) led the losses for the group for a second day to be at $27.69, down 44 cents or 1.5% after falling 3.6% yesterday. Macquarie Group (MQG) bucked the weaker trend among financials, rising 1.4% or $1.55 to $106.98. Participation over the morning saw around 1.4 billion transactions being measured by the ASX valued at $3.4 billion. At lunch 574 shares were higher, 452 were lower and 390 were unchanged.
Gold names moved ahead despite, pressure on gold price as the US dollar remained in the neighbourhood of 3 month creating headwinds for the yellow metal. The gold futures price fell by US$4.90 an ounce or 0.4% to $1,317.90 an ounce. Newcrest (NCM) shares were 3% or 63 cents higher at $21.37, Northern Star (NST) shares were at $6.44, up 3 cents or 0.5%, Evolution Mining (EVN) shares were at $3.19, up 4 cents or 1.3%
Energy names rose over the morning helped by firmer oil prices as Investors considered the prospect of fresh sanctions being applied by the US may on Iran. Oilsearch (OSH) shares were at $8.00, 11 cents or 1.4% higher.
Incitec Pivot (IPL) shares were 0.4% or 1.5 cents higher at $3.81 after announcing a $236 million impairment against its Dyno Nobel Asia Pacific business. The non cash impairment reflected several factors, including revisions to long-term gas-production forecasts and would reduce the value of goodwill to $908.5 million from about $1.14 billion. On the positive side of the ledger the group would realise a $96.5 million one-off benefit due to the recent US tax reforms.
AGL (AGL) shares were at $21.18, 38 cents or 1.8% higher. After market close Thursday the power generator committed to the construction of a new 252 mega watt gas-fired power station in Newcastle, NSW. AGL is assessing sites for the project near AGL’s Newcastle Gas Storage Facility and estimates an investment of up to $400 million. Construction is targeted to complete during the 2022 calendar year.
Crown Resorts (CWN) shares were flat at $12.92 after The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation issued a letter of censure to Crown Melbourne and imposed a fine of $300,000 after a judgement was handed down after the recent Gaming Machine Trial. The hearing turned around the improper alteration of gaming machines by CWN staff through the use of blanking buttons, which made it possible for players to only select the minimum and maximum betting options.
Major currencies were generally weaker against the US dollar in the US and European sessions compared with the Asian close. The Aussie dollar fell from highs near US75.85 cents to lows near US75.45 cents and it was near US75.50 cents in late US trade. A short time ago the local unit was at 75.55 US cents
Published by CommSec