Mining and energy stocks gave the local sharemarket a lift on Wednesday, but investors remain wary of the Donald Trump administration’s rapid onslaught of policy changes and commentary around currencies and trade.

Most investors were glad to begin pouring over earnings reports given the domination of macro and geopolitical themes in recent weeks, though there were a few surprising downgrades.

Overall, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index and the broader All Ordinaries Index rose 0.6 per cent and 0.5 per cent to 5653.2 points and 5704 points respectively.

“We saw some money moving back to the market as investors took advantage of the initial sell-off this morning. And now they are picking up some of the large cap stocks,” said Gary Huxtable, client adviser at Atlantic Pacific Securities.

“The bulk of the January profit takers appears to have been washed out.”

Resources giant BHP Billiton finished up 1.7 per cent and Rio Tinto was up 0.5 per cent.

Shares in iron ore producer Fortescue Metals soared to their highest in six years at $6.97 following a number of broker upgrades to their share price targets, before trimming some of the gains to close up 2.3 per cent at $6.81. The miner said on Tuesday it’s on track for to meet the top end of its iron ore production forecast for the year, as demand and prices for the bulk commodity exceed market expectations.

There was broadbased buying in the big banks, with all four trading up between 0.4 per cent and 0.9 per cent.

A pullback in bond yields overnight saw investors flood into well-known defensives, such as Telstra, up 1.4 per cent, Wesfarmers up 1.5 per cent and Woolworths 1.9 per cent.

There was also plenty of equities news to keep Australian investors busy.

Shares in OFX Group plunged 23.9 per cent to $1.27 after the money transfer company announced it expects full year statutory net profit of around $19 million, compared with $18 million last year. The trading update outlined how the post-Brexit slide in the British pound only compounded lower-than-expected revenues in Australia.

Senex Energy shareholders enjoyed a 7.1 per cent surge after the company announced a new substantial shareholder on the books following a $55 million placement. EIG Global Energy Partners now hold a 12 per cent stake in the business.

Elsewhere, Virtus Health shares rebounded 5.1 per cent on Wednesday, after the stock fell heavily on Tuesday. THe Fertility company announced it had suffered a sharp decline in treatment cycles thanks to tough low-priced competition.


February 16, 2017