Share market reverses early falls

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Trevor Chappell
(Australian Associated Press)

The Australian share market has closed higher on a day of mixed company earnings results, and as market heavyweights Commonwealth Bank and Suncorp fell as they traded ex-dividend.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index gained 27.6 points, or 0.48 per cent, to 5,785.1 points, overcoming a weak morning of trade when the index dropped by as much as 0.5 per cent.

The biggest company on the market, Commonwealth Bank, and financial heavyweight Suncorp were weaker after going ex-dividend, and vaccines and blood products giant CSL also fell sharply.

ASR Wealth Advisers client adviser Gary Huxtable said trading was dominated by corporate earnings reports, and investors unable to get a clear view of the macro-economic climate.

“It’s been a case of swings and roundabouts – the market’s not able to hold onto gains for companies that do report well such as Woodside, which at one stage was up by about five per cent,” Mr Huxtable said.

“Investors are unwilling to commit to a long-term view.”

“CBA and Suncorp going ex-dividend wiped off a few points as well.”

Commonwealth Bank dropped $1.41, or 1.7 per cent, to $79.84, while the three other major banks were between 1.4 per cent and two per cent higher, led by ANZ.

Suncorp shed 51 cents, or 3.8 per cent, to $13.05.

CSL dropped $1.91, or 1.5 per cent, to $125.27 as the company lifted its annual profit by nearly eight per cent but missed the market’s high expectations.

Oil and gas producer Woodside Petroleum gained 76 cents, or 2.6 per cent, to $29.90 as it increased its dividend following a 49 per cent rise in half year profit, driven by higher oil prices and lower costs.

Origin Energy gained 37 cents, or 5.4 per cent, to $7.22 after it reported a better-than-expected annual underlying profit and forecast strong growth in underlying earnings in its electricity and gas businesses in 2017/18.

BHP Billiton rose 0.2 per cent to $25.67, Rio Tinto eased 0.1 per cent to $62.75, and Fortescue Metals gained 0.7 per cent to $5.50.

Seven West Media shed two cents, or 2.5 per cent, to 77 cents as it suffered a $744 million loss, courtesy of persistent weak ad revenues and a massive writedown on its broadcast licences.

The Australian dollar is slightly weaker after the greenback rose following the release of better-than-expected US retail sales figures.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 27.6 points, or 0.48 per cent, at 5,785.1 points at 1630 AEST.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was 26.8 points, or 0.46 per cent, at 5,830.8 points.

* The September SPI200 futures contract was up 43 points at 5,747 points.

* National turnover was 2.7 billion securities traded worth $6.7 billion.


CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEST:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 78.38 US cents, from 78.47 US cents on Tuesday

* 86.84 Japanese yen, from 86.57 yen

* 66.82 euro cents, from 66.82 euro cents

* 60.98 British pence, from 60.55 pence

* 108.36 NZ cents, from 107.59 NZ cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEST was $US1,269.82 per fine ounce, down from $US1,275.59 per fine ounce on Tuesday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEST:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.8949pct, from 1.8727pct on Tuesday

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.6122pct, from 2.5957pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* September 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.34 (implying a yield of 2.66pct), from 97.355 (2.645pct) on Tuesday

* September 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 98.02 (1.98pct), from 98.06 (1.94pct).

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEST previous local session. Currency closes taken at 1700 AEST previous local session.)

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