Aussie shares off to positive start for financial year

Derek Rose |

The ASX200 has finished the first week of the financial year in positive territory.
The ASX200 has finished the first week of the financial year in positive territory.

The local bourse has edged slightly lower ahead of another important monthly US jobs update, with little driving the market given Wall Street’s overnight public holiday closure.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index on Friday finished down 9.5 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 7,822.3, while the broader All Ordinaries dipped 9.0 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 8,070.1.

For the week, the ASX200 gained 0.7 per cent, after losing 0.4 per cent the previous week, in a continuation of its range-bound trading it has been in since early June.

Equities were boosted this week on increased confidence the US Federal Reserve will cut rates by year-end, with attention turning to Friday night’s non-farm payroll figures for additional possible confirmation.

Six of the ASX’s 11 sectors gained ground and five lost it on Friday, with health care the biggest mover, rising 0.7 per cent.

CSL added 0.8 per cent to $299.75, Cochlear gained 1.0 per cent to $322.03 and Sonic Healthcare rose 1.4 per cent to $26.10.

Coalminers continued their strong gains after last weekend’s explosion at Anglo American’s Grosvenor coalmine in Queensland sparked an underground fire that may take months to extinguish, impacting global coal supplies.

Whitehaven Coal rose 0.3 per cent to an 18-month high of $8.97, Yancoal climbed 1.0 per cent to a seven-year high of $7.33 and Stanmore Resources added 1.8 per cent to a five-month high of $3.97. For the week they rose 17.3, 10.7 and 12.2 per cent, respectively.

West Africa Resources was the biggest mover in the ASX200 on Friday, rising 5.1 per cent in a partial bounce-back from Thursday’s selloff.

Elsewhere in the heavyweight mining sector, Rio Tinto dipped 1.1 per cent to $122.87 and BHP and Fortescue both fell 0.9 per cent, to $44.39 and $22.41, respectively.

Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals was the leader in the All Ordinaries, rising 15.0 per cent to a six-month high of $17.38 after announcing positive results for its skin repair drug Scenesse in a small UK study.

The Big Four banks were mostly lower with NAB down 1.2 per cent to $35.33 and Westpac and CBA both dipping 0.6 per cent, to $27.20 and $127.10, respectively. ANZ added 0.5 per cent to $28.65.

Suncorp dipped 0.1 per cent after announcing a successful placement of its global reinsurance program.

“It is pleasing to see stability return to global reinsurance markets after three years of disruption,” said Suncorp Group chief executive Steve Johnston, explaining reinsurance market turmoil had been a major factor in driving up insurance premiums.

The Australian dollar continued its gains against the greenback, a day after rising above 67 US cents for the first time in six months on increased expectations of a September rate cut in America.

The Aussie was buying 67.29 US cents, from 67.14 US cents at Thursday’s ASX close.

In cryptocurrency, Bitcoin had dropped to its lowest levels since February. BTC was trading for $US54,290, or $A80,700 on Australian exchanges, down seven per cent in 24 hours.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Friday down 9.5 points, or 0.12 per cent, at 7,822.3

* The broader All Ordinaries dropped 9.0 points, or 0.11 per cent, to 8,070.1.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 67.29 US cents, from 67.14 US cents at Thursday’s ASX close

* 108.19 Japanese yen, from 108.35 Japanese yen

* 62.19 euro cents, from 62.24 euro cents

* 52.69 British pence, from 52.68 pence

* 1.10 NZ cents, from 109.83 NZ cents.

AAP