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Monday 22

April, 2019 6:52 PM



ASX flat as banks gain and miners drop

ASX flat as banks gain and miners drop

Australian shares have closed flat after mining stocks lost ground while the banking sector rose.

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By AAP 15.04.2019 05:04 PM

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The Australian sharemarket has started the week flat, with volumes light as many traders took the week off as the Easter school holidays commenced nationwide.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up a tenth of a point, to 6,251.4 points at 1615 AEST on Monday, while the broader All Ordinaries gained 0.9 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 6,347.9.

Miners, health care stocks, utilities and consumer discretionary shares were down, while consumer staples, energy stocks, and the financial sector was up.

Commonwealth Bank gained 0.78 per cent to $72.19, Westpac was up 0.54 per cent to $26.06, ANZ gained 0.88 per cent to $26.25 and NAB was up 0.57 per cent to $24.83.

While the material sector was down collectively 0.35 per cent, Rio Tinto gained 0.25 per cent to $100.75 after it said it was investing $US302 million ($A421m) to expand its Resolution copper project in the US state of Arizona.

BHP fell 0.10 per cent to $39.54 and South32 fell 1.13 per cent to $3.50, while Fortescue Metals gained 0.99 per cent to $8.15.

Shares in several companies hit all-time highs including IDP Education (up 0.26 per cent to $15.49), Nearmap (up 1.55 per cent to $3.28), Zip Co (up 12.5 per cent to $2.70), A2Milk (up 4.06 per cent to $14.61) and Bravura Solution (up 7.05 per cent to $5.47)

Bell Direct equities analyst Julie Lee said the Zip Co rise was particularly interesting because it also announced its share purchase plan was oversubscribed.

The buy-now, pay-later company had sought to raise $5 million from shareholders; it received applications buy $35.8 million.

The energy sector was in the black thanks to higher oil prices, with Santos, Oil Search and Origin Energy all trading between 0.55 and 1.28 per cent higher.

Caltex lost 1.16 per cent to $27.35 after it announced the completion of a $260 million off-market buy-back, while Woodside Petroleum gained 0.22 per cent to $35.84.

Gold miners were hit hard as precious metal prices softened in the face of strong overseas equities markets.

Health care shares dipped 0.71 per cent, while CSL was down 1.17 per cent to $195.54.

Ms Lee said she expects the Australian sharemarket to remain quiet until May 1, when ANZ will kick off bank reporting season by announcing its half-year results, followed by NAB the next day and Macquarie Group the following day.

"The first week of May will all be about banking stocks," she said.

The Aussie dollar is buying 71.69 US cents, from 71.61 US cents on Friday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 0.1 points to 6,251.4 points at 1630 AEST on Monday.

* The All Ordinaries was up 0.9 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 6,347.9.

* At 1630 AEST, the SPI200 futures index flat at 6,240.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 71.68 US cents, from 71.61 US on Friday

* 80.22 Japanese yen, from 79.70 yen

* 63.36 euro cents, from 63.15 euro cents

* 54.80 British pence, from 54.56 pence

* 105.86 NZ cents, from 105.88 cents

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