The Bull

Friday 18

January, 2019 6:36 AM



ASX hitches a ride on Santa's sleigh

ASX hitches a ride on Santa's sleigh

Mining, energy and finance stocks were full of festive cheer as the ASX lifted from a bleak morning to end ahead at an earlier-than-usual Christmas Eve close.

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By AAP 24.12.2018 02:52 PM

T'was the day before Christmas and all through the bourse, broad gains had been driven by energy, financials, and resource.

The ASX has come out ahead in seasonally-shortened Christmas Eve session on Monday, with broad-based gains lifting the market amid light trade.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index dropped by as much as one per cent early, but a mining and energy-driven rally helped it climb 0.48 per cent to sit ahead at 5,493.8 points by an earlier-than-usual close of 1415 AEDT.

The broader All Ordinaries was up by 26.2 points, or 0.48 per cent to 5,559.6.

CommSec analyst James Tao said while the performance was impressive, investors shouldn't read too much into the session given the light volumes.

"I guess on a day like today you have pretty light volumes after the first couple of hours into the session, so it makes it a bit easier for it to keep climbing," Mr Tao said.

"But it is good to see a bit of green as opposed to a sea of red."

Banking and energy shares turned around a gloomy morning to climb into the afternoon, while tech and retail shares also regained lost ground as the day progressed.

MYOB shares skyrocketed after the company recommended a buyout offer from US private equity giant KKR & Co, with its stock finishing 14.64 per cent higher at $3.29.

Supermarket Coles turned around earlier deficits to gain 0.38 per cent to $11.70, while Woolworths climbed 0.78 per cent to $28.78, and IGA parent Metcash was flat at $2.40. .

Wesfarmers was up 0.51 per cent to $31.59, but retailers JB-Hi-Fi and Premier Investments remained lower.

The financial sector was subdued early but turned around on gains for each of the big four, NAB leading the day with a 0.31 per cent gain to $22.91.

Commonwealth Bank finished 0.25 per cent higher at $68.65 and ANZ gained 0.26 per cent to $23.36.

Westpac turned around heavy morning losses to sit 0.13 per cent higher at $23.86.

Insurers QBE, Suncorp, and IAG lifted into the afternoon.

Shares in the under-pressure superannuation giant IOOF Holdings finished 7.87 per cent higher at $5.07 after it announced it had signed a deal with the banking regulator to be fully compliant with new licence conditions by the end of 2019.

The mining sector was a bright spot throughout the day, with giant BHP up 0.42 per cent to $33.50, Rio Tinto up 2.06 per cent to $77.22, and Fortescue Metals climbing 1.74 per cent to $4.10.

South32 and BlueScope Steel were also in front

The energy sector also gained despite sliding oil prices while healthcare and tech stocks also finished higher.

The Aussie edged higher, buying 70.62 US cents, though still down from 71.06 US cents on Friday.

The ASX will not open on Tuesday or Wednesday for Christmas and Boxing Day.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 26.2 points, or 0.48 per cent to 5,493.8

* The All Ordinaries was up 26.3 points, or 0.48 per cent, at 5559.6.

* At 1415 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was up 47 points, or 0.87 per cent, at 5,425.0

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1415 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 70.62 US cents, from 71.06 on Friday

* 78.42 Japanese yen, from 79.15

* 62.00 euro cents, from 62.09

* 55.72 British pence, from 56.17

* 104.75 NZ cents, from 104.99

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1415 AEDT was $US1,263.3 per fine ounce, from $US1,262.7 on Friday.

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