After a small hiccup yesterday, the Aussie market is back to its winning ways. The ASX 200 is 46 points or 0.65% higher at 7112 and has hit the 7,100 point mark for the first time ever. The improvement comes despite US markets closing weaker on concerns from the spread of the coronavirus from Asia to the US.
Local gains have been rather broad based with nearly every sector higher at lunch. The supermarket giants are leading the way with Woolworths (WOW) up 2% while Coles (COL) is 1.7% higher. A2 Milk (A2M) is also advancing 2.3%. Tech stocks are also rebounding from sharp declines yesterday with Wisetech Global (WTC) lifting 3.1%, Afterpay (APT) is also climbing 1.2%.
Several of the major banks, miners and CSL Ltd (CSL) are also helping to lift the broader market. ANZ Bank (ANZ) and Commonwealth Bank (CBA) are both more than 0.7% higher while Fortescue Metals (FMG) is rallying 3%. The only sector to trade in the red so far has been the utilities. AGL Energy (AGL) is easing 1.5%. Travel stocks are also falling with Flight Centre (FLT) down 3.4% while Qantas (QAN) is easing by 1.5%. Online travel business Webjet (WEB) down 1%.
A number of companies have released quarterly updates ahead of the February Reporting Season. Oil and gas producer, Santos (STO) announced record annual production, sales volumes and revenue over the 2019 calendar year, with double digit growth on the year before for production and revenue. Although fourth quarter production was 5% lower on Q3 primarily due to domestic gas customer outages in WA. STO shares are 0.5% higher.
Syrah Resources (SYR) has recovered from a near 10% slide on Tuesday following the release of a quarterly update today. The graphite miner is 7% higher even with a sharp fall in production over the December quarter. However, the company is on target to achieve its 20-25% cost reduction. Gold miner St Barbara (SBM) is 3.8% weaker as it cuts the FY20 production outlook for its Gwalia (WA) and Simberi (PNG) mines.
The Aussie dollar has eased further against the greenback and is buying 68.33 US cents after January monthly consumer confidence fell. So far, 1.2b units have traded worth $2.3b with 556 stocks higher, 436 lower and 355 unchanged.
Published by CommSec