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Local shares shrugged off a volatile session on Wall Street overnight to start Thursday’s session with a solid gain. The ASX 200 started the session with a gain of loss of 7 points before trading with a gain of 36 points at the best levels of the morning. The local index posted a loss of 1% a day earlier as Asian markets sold off on the news that President Trump’s chief economic advisors had resigned from his position. The early gains were more flattering when seen through the lens of the losses for US indices overnight, which saw the Dow Jones index down at the close by 83 points or 0.3% after earlier being down 349 points. The S&P 500 index was down by 0.1%. But the Nasdaq was up by 24.6 points or 0.3%.
Participation over the morning saw around 1.9 billion transactions being measured by the ASX valued at $2.2 billion. At lunch 620 shares were higher, 438 were lower and 351 were unchanged. Materials were the only sector to post a meaningful decline over the morning, while Energy flirted with negative territory. Consumer Discretionary, Healthcare, Information Technology and Utilities were all well supported, evidenced by gains in the order of 1% for the sub-indices.
Golds stocks were weaker as group, moderating after the sizeable gains of the last 2 days in response to market uncertainty. Shares in Northern Star Resources (NST) were 0.2% or 2 cents lower at $6.61 after the gold miner said will purchase Westgold Resources’ (WGX) South Kalgoorlie Operations for a sum of $80 million. The deal includes a processing facility which has an annual throughput capacity of 1.2 million tonnes, a resource of 4Moz, including 250,000oz in Reserves, and 800sqkm of prospective gold tenure. The project is currently producing at the rate of 30,000-40,000 oz pa and providing services for third parties. The transaction is due for completion on 1 April 2018. Westgold Resources (WGX) shares were at $1.55 for a gain 0.3%
Lithium miners recovered some of the ground surrendered in recent days. The sector has encountered headwinds in face of analyst’s reports predicting a spike in lithium supply in coming years as existing capacity expands and new projects come online. Orecobre (ORE) shares were at $5.89 for a gain of 26 cents or 4.6%, Galaxy Resources (GXY) shares were 10 cents or 3.6% firmer at $3.01, Kidman Resources (KDR) were at $2.00 for a gain of 2% or 4 cents, Pilbara Minerals (PLS) was at 84 cents , up 2 cents or 2.5%.
The Australian dollar firmed after the ABS released month trade data. The figures showed a seasonally adjusted trade surplus of $1.05 billion in January, substantially ahead of forecasts for a surplus of $160 million. Within the result the value of exports rose 4%, while imports fell by 2% – additionally, the December deficit was revised to $1.146 billion compared to an initial measure of $1.358 billion. The Aussie dollar firmed in response to be at the best levels of the last 2 sessions, trading at 78.30 US cents
Published by CommSec