ASX finishes higher for 5th straight week

Friday, 20 September, 2019 - 15:18
Category: 

The Australian share market has given up most of its early gains, but still managed to close higher for a 10th day in the past 12 sessions.

After being up as many as 56 points in the morning, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed Friday up just 13.3 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 6,730.8 points.

It was rise of 61.6 points for the week, the fifth straight the index has risen.

The broader All Ordinaries, meanwhile, was up 13.8 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 6,839 points.

"We have some pretty strong momentum on the back of yesterday's jobs numbers," said CommSec market analyst James Tao.

With those numbers showing unemployment had risen to a 12-month high in August, traders were betting that the Reserve Bank would cut the cash rate further in October.

The ASX's Rate Indicator showed that the market was now pricing in an 80 per cent chance of a rate cut next month, up from a 25 per cent chance a week ago.

Most sectors were up Friday save for industrials, telecoms, utilities and property trusts.

Mining stocks showed the biggest gains, up 0.5 per cent, with goldminers rising after the price of the precious metal climbed to US$1,505 an ounce.

Newcrest and Northern Star gained 2.3 per cent while Evolution was up 2.8 per cent.

BHP rose 0.2 per cent to $37.75 while Fortescue dipped 1.3 per cent to $8.92 and Rio Tinto fell 0.6 per cent to $92.44.

In the financial sector, NAB shot up in the final minutes of trading, closing up 1.6 per cent to $29.79, after the Royal Bank of Scotland announced that Ross McEwan's last day would be October 31.

He'll begin as NAB chief executive on December 2, NAB said minutes later, with interim CEO Philip Chronican replacing Ken Henry as chairman.

ANZ and Westpac, meanwhile, both gained 0.3 per cent, to $27.91 and $29.66, respectively, while Commonwealth was flat at $82.18

IOOF climbed 7.9 per cent to a four-month high of $5.99 after the Federal Court tossed out the financial regulator's case against it over alleged conflict of interests and granted the wealth manager court costs.

Premier Investments streaked further ahead, up 16.61 per cent after the retail owner posted a 27.7 per cent increase in full-year profit.

JB Hi Fi gained 1.5 per cent to set another all-time high at $34.86, having gained 34.8 per cent since the start of July.

Rural Funds Group fell 5.5 per cent to $1.625 - falling 20.3 per cent on the week - after Hong Kong-based Bucephalus Research released a report alleging financial impropriety.

The criticisms are similar to those made in August by US-based Bonitas Research, which Rural Funds Management rebutted and is suing.

Pushpay rose up 0.63 per cent as the app payment developer for churches, schools and education providers raised its guidance.

Seven West Media shed 2.41 per cent on news long-time head of sport Saul Shtein will depart the network in chief executive James Warburton's first major move since taking the reins in August.

The Aussie dollar is buying 68.07 US cents, up from 67.81 US cents on Thursday.

In cryptocurrency, Bitcoin rose back above US$10,000, selling for $US10,147 or $A14,934 on Australian exchanges.

ON THE ASX

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 13.3 points, or 0.2 per cent, at 6,730.8 points.

* The All Ordinaries closed up 13.8 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 6,839 points.

* The SPI200 futures index closed up 43 points, or 0.64 per cent, to 6,717.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST

One Australian dollar buys:

* 68.05 US cents, from 67.81 US cents on Thursday

* 73.41 Japanese yen, from 73.23 yen

* 61.51 euro cents, from 61.45 cents

* 51.15 British pence, from 54.38 pence

* 108.11 NZ cents, from 107.53 cents.