Australian shares clinched a two-week rally with another advance on Friday, with the benchmark top 200 index closing over the final session above 5900 for the first time since May.
In the week’s final session the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index advanced 10 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 5907, while the All Ordinaries rose 8 points, or 0.1 per cent, at 5968 and within a whisker of its post-GFC highs. The top 200 jumped 1.6 per cent over the five trading days, building on a 1.8 per cent gain in the prior week. Since the current rally kicked off on October 6, the benchmark measure has jumped close to 200 points, or 4.5 per cent.
In New Zealand markets, the Kiwi dollar wallowed on Friday after dropping by more than 2 per cent the night before after the shock news on Thursday evening that Labour’s Jacinda Ardern would become the Pacific nation’s next Prime Minister. The Kiwi dollar ended the week at 89.05??, while the NZX50 shook off early losses on Friday to end 5 points, or 0.1 per cent, higher to 8129.
Australian stocks started Friday’s session on a soggy note but turned around lunchtime in tandem with US stock futures. The gains followed the US Senate taking a significant step toward rewriting the tax code with the passage of a budget blueprint that would protect a $1.5 trillion tax cut from a Democratic filibuster.
The news hit the wires around 12.30pm Sydney time, and gave a solid 30-point boost to the ASX 200. The news also pushed the US dollar higher, taking the Aussie around half an American penny lower to US78.45 cents. A bounce in Chinese iron ore futures on Friday afternoon also helped buoy sentiment.
Over the week, utility stocks were the best performers by sector, up 3.9 per cent. They were closely followed by consumer staples, with a 2.2 per cent advance.
On Friday, standouts included Vocus Group, which jumped 6.8 per cent ahead of its investor day on Monday and Tassal Group, which rose 3.5 per cent. Flight Centre shares rose 3.5 per cent and Metcash jumped 2.7 per cent. Spark New Zealand was a big decliner, losing 3.2 per cent as investors reacted to the election result.
BHP shares added 0.5 per cent after chairman Ken MacKenzie made it clear that outspoken investors would not be allowed to hijack the company’s agenda.
Shares in homewares retailer Adairs fell 2.2 per cent after it was fined by the corporate regulator over failing to comply with its continuous disclosure obligations.
Lithium plays were lower after a recent strong run, with Galaxy losing 1.8 per cent and Orocobre trading down 3.2 per cent. The losses also came after the chairman of Chinese lithium powerhouse Tianqi Lithium Corporation, Jiang Weiping, overnight warned some lower quality producers will be “wiped out” over the next few years as new supply enters the market. Stock watchAPI
Australian Pharmaceutical Industries had a good week, rising 9.3 per cent after a 3.6 per cent jump on Friday following an upgrade to neutral at Credit Suisse. Earlier in the week, solid sales and margin growth in API’s pharmacy distribution business offset modest growth in the Priceline chain to lift bottom line net profit for the 12 months ending August 31 by 1.4 per cent to $52.4 million. Excluding one-off costs of $1.8 million incurred on due diligence for Laser Clinics Australia, underlying net profit rose 5.4 per cent to $54.2 million. That was in line with market forecasts and API’s revised 5 per cent guidance, which was downgraded from 10 per cent in August as retail conditions deteriorated. “It was a good result given the conditions,” said Blue Ocean Equities analyst Phil Pepe, as API shares rose 4.7 per cent to $1.65. Copper market abuse
Red Kite Management, the world’s largest metals hedge fund, is suing British bank Barclays for alleged market abuse in the copper market that it claims cost the firm at least $US850 million between 2010 and 2013. Red Kite alleges that Barclays allowed staff to share confidential information about its positions with the bank’s proprietary traders on the floor of the London Metal Exchange, according to court documents filed by the hedge fund in the UK High Court. Barclays traders used the knowledge about Red Kite’s positions to profit by placing opposing trades, the fund said in court documents filed in October 2016, but only recently made public. Barclays denied all the claims. The greenback
The US dollar rose on Friday, bolstered by increased optimism about the prospects for US tax reform. President Donald Trump’s drive to overhaul the tax code cleared a critical hurdle on Friday when the Senate approved a budget blueprint for the 2018 fiscal year that will pave the way for Republicans to pursue a tax-cut package without Democratic support. “There’s still a lot of uncertainty around the timing and the exact kind of reforms that we will see, but it has given [it] a bit of momentum,” said Peter Dragicevich, currency strategist for Nomura in Singapore, referring to the approval of the budget blueprint by the US Senate. Japan elections
The US dollar rose 0.6 per cent on the day to 113.2 yen, having risen to as high as 113.315 yen at one point, its strongest level since October 6 ahead of elections in Japan on Sunday. A powerful typhoon is expected to bring yet more rain to an already sodden Japan at the weekend, potentially affecting the election turnout. A study of the last 15 elections by weather forecasting service Weather News, showed the highest turnouts have occurred in cloudy weather. Cold or rainy weather is associated with lower voting rates, but so is sunny weather, which may encourage voters to find other ways to spend their leisure time. Opinion polls show the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner are on track to take about 300 of the 465 seats up for grabs. Crown
Crown shares dropped 5.7 per cent over the week. Whistleblower allegations that Crown casino rigged pokie machines and let gamblers avoid money-laundering laws in Melbourne are being “evaluated” by the Australian Federal Police. The AFP confirmed on Friday that independent MP Andrew Wilkie had referred the case he outlined using parliamentary privilege earlier this week. The explosive claims include the casino giant modified machines to boost gambling losses, ignored drug use and domestic violence issues, and allowed gamblers to get around money laundering laws. Crown strongly denies the accusations.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.