After a cautious start to the trading session, the Australian share market ended the first day of the new financial year on a positive note.
Despite a solid night on Wall Street to bring the 2019 financial year to a close, local futures this morning suggested we were in for a rocky day. However, after briefly dipping just four points into the red in early action, the S&P/ASX 200 suddenly reversed and was higher by 0.9 per cent by midday. When the market closed for the day, the index was 0.62 per cent higher at 5934.40 points.
Our gold producers led the stellar start to the year as the yellow metal reached its highest price since 2011. At market close, gold is selling for US$1802.50 per ounce. In response, Northern Star Resources surged 7.04 per cent higher, Evolution gained 6.17 per cent, Regis Resources gained 5.36 per cent, and Newcrest Mining gained 3.17 per cent.
As for the wider materials sector, moderate declines among iron ore stocks kept things soft. BHP closed grey, while Rio Tinto lost 0.83 per cent and Fortescue lost 0.65 per cent.
Our big four banks kept the other pillar of our market — the financials sector — steady. Commonwealth Bank closed just 0.66 per cent higher, but Westpac, NAB, and ANZ each gained between 1.29 per cent and 1.87 per cent.
It was the real estate sector which took the cake today after missing out on yesterday’s winning session. Today, Scentre Group gained 5.07 per cent, Mirvac gained 3.69 per cent, and Vicinity Centres gained 3.15 per cent.
As for the tech sector, Afterpay increased once more to another new all-time high. The buy now, pay later darling closed 2.05 per cent higher at $62.24 per share. Meanwhile, Xero gained 0.77 per cent, Computershare gained 1.28 per cent, and NEXTDC gained a healthy 8.10 per cent.
Taking a look at our eastern neighbours, it was once again mostly green across major Asian indexes. Today, the Hang Seng was 0.52 per cent up and the Asia Dow a marginal 0.02 per cent up when the ASX closed for the day. It was Japan’s Nikkei 225 that missed out this time, down 0.75 per cent.
Once again, the Aussie dollar is moderately weaker against the US dollar and stronger against the Pound sterling today. One dollar currently buys 68.96 US cents, 55.72 pence, and 11.98 South African Rand.
Today’s ups and downs
After wireless communication software company Etherstack (ASX:ESK) put on an impressive show yesterday with a gain of more than 1300 per cent, today saw another stellar performance on the junior end of the market. Medical company Alterity Therapeutics (ASX:ATH) was up over 2300 per cent at one point today before paring its win back to just 870.59 per cent. The company closed with shares worth 16 cents each after meeting with the US Food and Drug Administration regarding a development pathway for its experimental drug for Parkinson’s disease.
Meanwhile, Etherstack ended up topping the loser’s board today after yesterday’s substantial win. The company doubled its share price again this morning to $3.50 a pop, but it seems investors decided to take profits in droves thereafter and the company was lower by 40.29 per cent at market close. Still, at a price of $1.04 cents per share, this is still a nifty 770 per cent higher than Friday’s close of 12 cents per share.