The local share market closed higher after big banks and healthcare heavyweight CSL reversed early losses, while energy stocks led gains on well-received earnings results.
After being in the red at noon, the S & P/ASX200 index finished 0.5 per cent, or 27.6 points higher at 5785.1, while the broader All Ordinaries index also rose 0.5 per cent, or 26.8 points, to 5830.8.
Financials felt early weakness before bargain hunters swooped. Westpac shares rose 1.7 per cent to $32.74, ANZ surged 2 per cent to $30.42, NAB added 1.4 per cent to close on $31.32, while CBA finished 1.1 per cent higher trading ex-dividend.
Big miners reflected a mixed lead from commodities markets, as the price of the nation’s biggest export iron ore fell as offshore headwinds weighed on demand, according to ANZ economist Daniel Gradwell
“With the higher trading charges and a cap on daily positions kicking in on the Shanghai Futures Exchange, investor appetite has been dented,” said Mr. Gradwell.
BHP closed 0.2 per cent higher at $25.67, Rio Tinto lost 0.1 per cent to close on $62.75, while iron ore pure-play Fortescue rose 0.7 per cent to $5.50.
Shares in energy giants stood out as investors took kindly to key full-year earnings reports in the sector. Woodside Petroleum shares rose 2.6 per cent to $29.90 after it booked a 49 per cent increase in first-half profit, while Origin surged over 5 per cent to $7.22 as its underlying profit figure beat estimates.
CSL shares fell over 6 per cent at the open following the release of its full-year results, only for buyers to jump back in and bring the stock back to just 1.5 per cent below yesterday’s close at $125.27.
“The overall result looks in line, but year-ahead guidance for 11-16 per cent profit growth is softer than market expects,” said Citi analysts.
Aveo Group proved the best performing stock in the top 200 after it closed over 11 per cent higher on well-received earnings results, while Domino’s shares clawed back 7.2 per cent after its worst day ever on the ASX yesterday.
Westfield shares added 1.9 per cent, Seek dropped 3.2 per cent, while media stocks Fairfax and Seven West Media each fell over 2 per cent.
As the reporting season kicks into full swing and geopolitical jitters from earlier in the week fade, traders are beginning to change their tack, according to ASR Wealth Advisers’ Gary Huxtable.
“Investors are clearly beginning to take more of a company-specific view whilst making trading decisions, particularly given we had a flat offshore lead,” said Mr Huxtable.
Meanwhile, Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed wages maintained record low growth of 1.9 per cent in the second quarter. However NAB economist Tapas Strickland saw positive momentum for the Reserve Bank’s prediction of a “gradual” increases in the next few years.
“Next quarter’s wages figures will likely pop higher on the back of the recent minimum wage increase,” said Mr. Strickland.
“Outside of (this), a tightening labour market should also slowly add to wages pressures in time.”
In late trade, the Australian dollar was 0.2 per cent or US0.18 cents higher at US78.39 cents ahead of employment data released by the ABS tomorrow at 11:30am AEST.