The Australian share market has closed flat but finished May up a percentage point during a month when other markets around the world lost ground.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed on Friday up 4.8 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 6,396.9 points at 1615 AEST on Friday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 2.6 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 6,491.8.
“We started in the lows today, and buyers stepped in,” said Pepperstone Group’s head of research, Chris Weston.
“The ASX has weathered the storm really well, considering what been happening with oil prices worsening and US futures down, on pretty good volume.”
The tech sector was down 3.3 per cent as a whole, while energy stocks dropped 1.39 per cent, while the mining sector, industrials and health care were all up, between 0.6 and 0.9 per cent.
“That’s a sign of a reasonably healthy market, people rotating into different sectors rather than selling everything off,” Mr Weston said.
CommSec market analyst Tom Piotrowski said that while the market was only up one per cent for the month, May was the fifth consecutive months of gains and ASX is up 13 per cent for the year.
“The pendulum’s swinging in the right direction,” he said.
Eclipx was the biggest gainer among the ASX200 on Friday, soaring 30 per cent to a two-month high of $1.125 after executives outlined a plan to divest non-core business and turn the troubled vehicle fleet leasing company around.
Lynas shares were the second-best gainer, up 11.3 per cent to a five-year high of $3.05 after Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said its rare earths processing plant in the country could continue operations.
Link Admin Holdings was the biggest loser, falling 23.1 per cent to an all-time low of $5.97 after the financial services platform blamed Brexit uncertainty for the softer performance of its European operations.
Appen shares dropped 6.6 per cent to $26.03 after reiterating its earnings guidance of between $85 million and $90 million.
Among the major miners, BHP gained 0.2 per cent to $37.76 and Rio Tinto was down 0.7 per cent to $100.30.
St Barbara fell 5.9 per cent to $2.56 after the gold miner said blockages at its Gwalia mine in Western Australia would temporarily hamper production.
The big banks were mostly down, with Westpac falling 0.7 per cent to $27.44, ANZ down 0.5 per cent to $27.88 and NAB down a cent to $26.49.
Commonwealth Bank was the outlier, up 0.4 per cent to $78.51.
Woodside Petroleum, Santos, Beach Energy and Oil Search were all down, between 1.0 and 2.9 per cent.
Select Harvests was up 9.8 per cent to $7.06 after the almond producer posted a $20 million first-half profit despite rising water costs.
Amcor was up 3.1 per cent to $16.48 after the packaging company received US regulatory approval for its takeover of Bemis.
Crown Resorts was down 3.0 per cent to $12.53 after James Packer’s private investment company sold almost half its stake in the resorts firm to Macau-based entertainment company Melco.
The Aussie dollar is buying 69.14 US cents, from 69.34 US cents on Thursday.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 4.8 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 6,396.9 points at 1630 AEST on Friday.
* The All Ordinaries was up 2.6 points, or 0.04 per cent, to 6,491.8.
* At 1630 AEST, the SPI200 futures index was flat at 6,402.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 69.14 US cents, from 69.34 US cents on Thursday
* 75.31 Japanese yen, from 75.60 yen
* 62.19 euro cents, from 62.02 cents
* 54.83 British pence, from 54.72 pence
* 106.21 NZ cents, from 105.90 cents