Big banks, miners push ASX higher

Derek Rose
(Australian Associated Press)


Australian shares have finished higher on gains by the big miners and banks while investors took stock of several new earnings reports.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished up 21.9 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 6,150.3 points at 1615 AEDT on Wednesday, while the broader All Ordinaries was up 24.6 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 6,233.6.

“It’s looking good for the Australian share market,” said Bell Direct equities analyst Julia Lee. “We’ve seen seven sessions of gains in the last nine sessions, so good momentum.”

Wednesday was a “risk on day,” where investors moved from safer stocks into riskier ones, Ms Lee said.

A number of stocks went ex-dividend, including Telstra, AGL Energy, AMP, Bapcor and Beach Energy, Ms Lee noted.

Vocus Group and Seek were the top two ASX200 gainers on the backs of positive earnings results results.

Ms Lee said Vocus “blew it out of the water” with its earnings results. The telecommunications company’s shares closed 9.97 per cent higher, to $3.86, a nearly two-year high.

Seek shares closed up 8.25 per cent to $18.77, with investors apparently impressed with the online job search company’s long-term grown potential.

Magellan Financial Group (up 2.24 per cent) and Bravura Solutions (up 2.82 per cent) also both set all-time highs.

Reliance Worldwide Corp finished down 6.56 per cent after after the plumbing parts company announced chairman Jonathan Munz had sold his 10 per cent stake in the company for $367 million and would retire.

The big banks were all in the green, led by NAB, which was up 0.85 per cent to $24.81.

BHP was up 0.35 per cent and Rio Tinto was up 0.59 per cent. After the market closed Rio Tinto announced a special interim dividend for shareholders.

Shares in wastewater treatment provider Fluence surged 12.12 per cent on the announcement of a $250 million contract to build a plant in Ivory Coast’s largest city.

Ruralco Holdings shares surged 45.1 per cent after the diversified agricultural company received a $469 million takeover bid from Canadian fertiliser maker Nutrien Ltd.

Infant formula maker Bubs was up 4.42 per cent after announcing a supply agreement to increase the freshness of its goat milk powder.

Bega Cheese was up 1.24 per cent after reporting a 74 per cent dive in first-half profit and announcing the immediate closure of its manufacturing facility in Coburg.

Michael Hill International was up 9.01 per cent after the jewellery chain more than doubled first-half profit.

The Aussie dollar is buying 71.87 US cents from 71.57 US cents on Tuesday.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 21.9 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 6150.3 points at 1630 AEDT on Wednesday.

* The All Ordinaries was up 24.6 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 6233.6.

* At 1630 AEDT, the SPI200 futures index was down 2 points, to 6129.


One Australian dollar buys:

* 71.87 US cents, from 71.57 US on Monday

* 79.48 Japanese yen, from 79.32

* 63.17 euro cents, from 63

* 54.26 British pence, from 54.51

* 104.30 NZ cents, from 104.01


The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1630 AEDT was $US1327.81 per fine ounce, from $US1329.38 on Tuesday.


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