Currency and ASX snapshot – 16:30 AEST Wednesday 14 August

Derek Rose
(Australian Associated Press)


The Australian share market has surged in its final half-hour of trading to close in positive territory despite some major companies going ex-dividend.

CSL helped power the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index, accounting for 21.4 points of its 27.4 point of gains for the day after shares of the biotech and pharmaceutical giant surged to a record high.

The index finished Wednesday up 0.42 per cent to 6,595.9 points, while the broader All Ordinaries was closed up 29.4 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 6,677.5 points.

CSL soared 6.6 per cent to $234 after Australia’s fourth-largest listed company increased full-year profit by 11 per cent to $US1.92 billion ($A2.8 billion) on the strength of its antibody replacement drugs.

CMC Markets chief market analyst Michael McCarthy said the company had a “very strong outlook” for the future, with CSL predicting its profit would grow this year by 7.0 per cent to 10 per cent.

He said companies such as Commonwealth Bank and ResMed going ex-dividend accounted for about 25 points of losses for the day so the share market had a better session than it appeared.

CBA, Australia’s largest listed company, was down 3.6 per cent to $76.63.

Among the other big banks, Westpac gained 0.6 per cent to $28.52, ANZ was up 0.1 per cent to $27.03 and NAB fell by one cent to $27.65.

Every sector except for the financial and property was up, led by healthcare.

Volume was heavy, about 25 per cent more than usual, and Mr McCarthy said that with a number of companies reporting earnings, traders’ attention was focused on individual companies rather than broad economic themes.

Pact Group was the worst-performing ASX200 component, plummeting 16.9 per cent to a two-month low of $2.31 after the specialty packaging company scrapped its dividend and declared a $290 million full-year loss following a $369 million hit on a non-cash writedown of its Australian operations.

Aveo Group gained 5.5 per cent to $2.12 after the retirement home operator reached agreement to be acquired by Brookfield Property Group for $1.3 billion, or $2.195 per share.

Gambling giant Tabcorp gained 0.7 per cent to $4.40 after reporting its profit surged 12-fold to $362.5 million in its first full year of combined operations with Tatts Group.

Vicinity Centres was down 2.0 per cent to $2.48 after the shopping mall owner warned the outlook for retailers remained weak and lowered its dividend.

In the heavyweight mining sector, goldminers were under pressure as the price of the precious metal dipped back below $US1,500.

Newcrest, Regis, Saracen, Evolution and Northern Star were down between 2.2 and 7.4 per cent.

But the price of iron ore rose 2.3 per cent, sending Fortescue Metals up 4.7 per cent to $7.56, while BHP gained 1.1 per cent to $37.42 and Rio Tinto was up 2.5 per cent to $87.94.

The Aussie dollar is buying 67.88 US cents, from 67.61 US cents on Tuesday.


* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed up 27.4 points, or 0.42 per cent, to 6,595.9

* The All Ordinaries closed up 29.4 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 6,677.5

* The SPI200 futures index closed up 43 points, or 0.66 per cent, to 6,535


One Australian dollar buys:

* 67.82 US cents, from 67.61 cents on Tuesday

* 72.14 Japanese yen, from 71.15 yen

* 60.64 euro cents, from 60.39 cents

* 56.25 British pence, from 56.10 pence

* 105.07 NZ cents, from 104.81 cents.


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