The Bull

Thursday 21

March, 2019 1:04 AM



ASX surges to best close in a month

ASX surges to best close in a month

Technology stocks, miners and the big banks have lifted the Australian share market to its highest close in nearly five weeks.

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By AAP 07.01.2019 05:21 PM

The ASX has shaken off most of its losses from its dismal December, closing at its highest level in over a month.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 63.8 points, or 1.14 per cent, to close at 5683.2 at 1615 AEDT on Monday, with confidence high on the back of strong US jobs data.

The broader All Ordinaries was up 67.5 points, or 1.19 per cent, 5744.5.

"It's been a pretty strong start for the first full trading week of 2019," said CommSec market analyst James Tao.

The close was the local bourse's best since December 4, when the ASX200 finished at 5713.14.

The index then declined 5.3 per cent over the next 20 days, hitting an intraday low of 5410.2 on Christmas Eve, but has since rebounded.

Most sectors were in the green, particularly the information technology the resources sectors.

Tao cited as reasons for the rally the robust US jobs data; dovish comments by US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell; and talks between US and China in Beijing this week that aim to resolve their destructive trade dispute.

"That all culminates in some pretty favourable trading," Tao said.

The Aussie was also trading at its highest level in two and a half weeks, he noted.

IT shares were the strongest on the ASX, up 2.76 per cent, with dual-listed New Zealand company Pushpay Holdings 5.19 per cent higher, to $3.04, after it said it was now breaking even on a monthly cash flow basis.

The company makes digital tools to make it easier to donate to churches and nonprofits, with a focus on the US market.

Elsewhere in the sector, Afterpay was up 7.12 per cent, to $12.94; Wisetech Global rose 5.59 per cent, to $17.39, and Nextdc Limited rose 5.6 per cent, to $6.22

The mining sector also strong, with BHP up 3.03 per cent, to $34.39, while Rio Tinto rose 2.69 per cent to $78.90.

Gold miners had a tougher time of it, however, after the price of the precious metal fell 0.7 per cent.

Northern Star fell 3.3 per cent, to $9.39, while OceanaGold dropped 2.34 per cent, to $5.

The big banks were up between 0.76 per cent and and 1.4 per cent, led by ANZ, which closed up 34 cents, to $24.59.

Shares in Healius fell 6.18 per cent, or 17 cents, to close at $2.58 after the pathology and medical centre company recommended shareholders reject a $2.02 billion conditional takeover bid.

China's Jangho group made the indicative cash offer of $3.25 per share on Thursday, which caused a price spike of 12 per cent.

Healius said the proposal "is opportunistic and fundamentally undervalues Healius", the country's second-biggest employer of physicians.

Jangho said it was disappointed the Healius board "has so promptly dismissed an offer that represented compelling value for Healius shareholders" and said it had hired Minter Ellison as legal advisors.

Meanwhile, the Aussie was buying 71.35 US cents, up from 70.23 US cents on Friday and its highest price since December 21.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 63.8 points, or 1.14 per cent to 5683.2

* The All Ordinaries was up 67.5 points, or 1.19 per cent, to 5744.5.

* At 1415 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was flat at 5631.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1415 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 71.35 US cents, from 70.23 on Friday

* 77.26 Japanese yen, from 76.10

* 62.46 euro cents, from 61.63

* 55.98 British pence, from 55.57

* 1.06 NZ cents, from 1.05

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1415 AEDT was $US1,289.24 per fine ounce, from $US1284.40 on Friday.

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