The Australian share market has closed higher, with gains in the resource and healthcare sectors overshadowing a hefty fall in Telstra shares to an almost seven-year low.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 19.1 points, or 0.31 per cent, to 6,135.3 points on Monday – just 0.5 points shy of its highest level of 2018 – while the broader All Ordinaries rose 18.6 points, or 0.30 per cent, to 6,235 points.
Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee said the market is close to hitting new multi-year highs.
“That’s despite big companies trading ex-dividend and Telstra’s downgrade,” Ms Lee said.
Telstra on Monday said it now expects 2017/18 earnings to be at the bottom of its $10.1 billion to $10.6 billion guidance range, with “challenging trading conditions” expected to persist into 2018/19.
Shares in Telstra tumbled 16 cents, or five per cent, to $3.04, the lowest level since September 2011.
“The key part in Telstra’s update was the weakness in mobiles which they needed to offset the NBN decline but it looks like that mobile weakness will continue into the new financial year,” Ms Lee said.
Telstra said it had added 36,000 subscribers in fixed data and had an NBN market share of 50 per cent in the third quarter but price competition was cutting the value of each subscriber bundle and its own costs for accessing the NBN were affecting underlying earnings.
Among the energy players, Woodside Petroleum was up 45 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $33.97, Santos gained five cents, or 0.8 per cent to $6.25, and Origin Energy was steady at $9.85.
In the mining sector Rio Tinto gained 0.7 per cent to $84.50 and BHP Billiton rose 1.9 per cent to $33.79 as global iron ore prices ticked higher.
Healthcare giant CSL advanced $1.14, or 0.7 per cent, to $176.90, while shares in hospital operator Healthscope jumped 11 cents, or 4.5 per cent, to $2.58 after it received a second takeover offer that values it at $4.35 billion.
The big lenders were higher with the exception of ANZ and Macquarie, both trading ex-dividend on Monday, while the Commonwealth Bank recovered from morning losses to lift per cent 0.4 per cent to $70.80, after its chief financial officer Rob Jesudason stepped down after less than a year in the role.
Elders shares rose 30 cents, or 3.7 per cent, to $8.40 after the agricultural specialist lifted its half-year profit by eight per cent to $41.4 million.
Shares in News Corp were $1.40, or 6.2 per cent, weaker at $21.10 three days after the media giant reported a $US1.1 billion third-quarter loss.
And building fixtures supplier GWA Group rose 21 cents, or 5.7 per cent, to $3.93 after it said it will sell its door and access systems business for $107 million.
Meanwhile, the Australian dollar was higher against the US dollar, which appears set for its fourth straight day of losses, as currency traders lock in profits following the greenback’s recent rally.
At 1700 AEST, the Australian dollar was worth 75.47 US cents, up from 75.38 US cents on Friday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 finished Monday up 19.1 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 6,135.3 points
* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 18.6 points, or 0.30 per cent, to 6,235 points
* The SPI200 futures contract was up 26 points, or 0.43 per cent, at 6,122 points
* National turnover was 2.9 billion securities traded worth $6.8 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 75.47 US cents, from 75.38 on Friday
* 82.63 Japanese yen, from 82.45 yen
* 63.13 euro cents, from 63.36 euro cents
* 55.70 British pence, from 55.79 pence
* 108.67 NZ cents, from 108.20 cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,319.576 per fine ounce, from $US1,319.07 per fine ounce on Friday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
* CGS 5.75 per cent May 2021, 2.1488pct, from 2.1575pct on Friday
* CGS 2.25pct May 2028, 2.7726pct, from 2.7828pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* June 2018 10-year bond futures contract was 97.215 (implying a yield of 2.785pct), from 97.205 (2.795pct) on Friday
* June 2018 3-year bond futures contract was 97.81 (2.19pct), from 97.800 (2.200pct)
(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEST previous local session)