The Australian sharemarket has treaded water for another day as six more companies reported their earnings.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished up 6.7 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 6,066.1 points at 1615 AEDT on Friday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 9 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 6,148.6.
The index hasn’t moved much all week, closing down 5.3 points amid the mixed earnings reports.
Three of the four big banks saw gains, led by ANZ, which was up 1.02 per cent, to $26.81. NAB edged one cent lower, to $24.22.
‘All day we’ve been seeing consumer staples and health care underperforming,’ said Julia Lee, equities analyst with Bell Direct.
Domain shares shot up 21.05 per cent to $2.53, a two-month high, as the real estate listing company’s $156.4 million first-half loss was apparently less than investors had expected.
Whitehaven Coal shares closed down 6.68 per cent, to $4.47, after spooking investors with news of lower sales and increased coal production costs.
Other companies reporting earnings were Baby Bunting, which closed down 6.01 per cent despite a 28 per cent rise in profits; Medibank, which closed 2.9 per cent higher; health group Healius, 0.35 per cent higher; and Abacus Property Group, down 0.27 per cent.
Bega Cheese gained 7.38 per cent, to $5.09, after the dairy company said it would build a $34 million plant at the Murray Goulburn Koroit factory in western Victoria it bought last year for $250 million.
The new plant will be used to extract lactoferrin from milk so it can be used in infant formula and health goods, and will make Bega one of the world’s largest producers of the specialty protein.
Automotive Holdings Group shares skidded 8.15 per cent after it said it would recognise a non-cash impairment of $226 million when it reports earnings next week, reflecting soft market conditions in the automotive retail sector.
Ms Lee said that next week three of the ASX’s most-shorted companies will announce earnings: body, hair and skin company BWX; Dominos Pizza; and funeral home company InvoCare.
‘Potentially there could be big moves if their earnings are better than expected,’ she said.
The Aussie dollar is buying 70.88 US cents, from 71.21 US cents on Thursday.
It has hit a 20-month low against the kiwi, buying less than 104 New Zealand cents for the first time since June 2017.
The New Zealand dollar has shot up after the country’s central bank surprised bears by being more balanced on the economic and policy outlook than many had expected.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 6.7 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 6,066.1 points at 1630 AEDT on Friday.
* The All Ordinaries was up 9 points, or 0.15 per cent, at 6,148.6.
* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up 2 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6015.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 70.92 US cents, from 71.05 US on Thursday
* 78.27 Japanese yen, from 79.02
* 62.84 euro cents, from 63.11
* 55.38 British pence, from 55.33
* 103.89 NZ cents, from 104.24
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1313.50 per fine ounce, from $US1312.25 on Thursday.