After recording a monthly improvement in February of 5.2% and enjoying the best monthly performance since July 2016, the ASX 200 has continued its positive momentum to start the 2019 into March with the index up 32 points or 0.52% to 6200 despite a weak lead from Wall Street. The top 200 index is also looking at a second straight week of gains.
Gains have been mostly broad based with the IT sector continuing to rebound from losses earlier in the week. Afterpay Touch (APT) continues its week of big swings, climbing 6% while logistics software firm Wisetech Global (WTC) is 3% higher.
Healthcare and consumer names are also among the outperformers. Retailer, Harvey Norman (HVN) is lifting 3.3% on several broker upgrades following its 1H19 results release yesterday. Infant formula maker, Bellamy’s Australia (BAL) is also advancing 8%. Financials are being pushed higher by gains in the four major banks.
Leading the losses are the resource sectors with the materials and energy sectors both softer. The energy sector is down more than 1% with losses for our larger energy producers. Woodside (WPL) is down 1.3% while Oil Search (OSH) is 1.7% weaker. Leading the losses for the sector is Caltex (CTX), falling 5% as it trades ex-dividend.
With the February reporting season now behind us, investors have time to look at how corporate Australia performed. Overall 138 companies reported half year results and 31 issued full year results. 93% of those reporting half year results reported a profit but only half lifted profits. For more details, visit our earnings wrap at www.commsec.com.au/reportingseason.
A number of companies that did not report on time have been suspended from official quotation on the ASX, most notably Yellow Brick Road (YBR) which is the wealth management business run by Mark Bouris.
Elsewhere, home prices fell 0.7% nationally in February with prices falling 1% over the month in Sydney and Melbourne. Hobart saw prices lift 0.8%. The Aussie Dollar eased against the greenback and buys 70.95 US cents. So far, 1.5b units have traded worth $2.3b with 528 stocks higher, 408 weaker and 355 unchanged. Published by CommSec