The last full trading day for 2019 may have put a damper on end-of-year celebrations, but investors can still tip their glasses to a strong overall year the for the Aussie stock market.
While the ASX 200 lost 16.8 points today, the full year has seen the benchmark index gain a healthy 22.7 per cent. The weak trading day was underpinned by a flat finish on Wall Street overnight, as the S&P 500 barely stayed above water and the Dow Jones gained a slight 0.08 per cent.
Still, 2019 saw the biggest surge in the ASX 200 since 2009. The index surpassed pre-GFC highs for the first time ever.
Mining stocks weighed the market down today as BHP and Rio Tinto each closed red.
Iron ore producer Fortescue Metals had a particularly strong final quarter, frequently posting new 11-year highs. However, it could not escape today’s slump and closed 1.09 per cent down with shares worth $10.88 each.
The other half of the ASX’s twin-pillars, the finance sector, also closed red today. The big four posted mixed results, with NAB slipping 0.16 per cent while Commonwealth, Westpac, and ANZ picked up the slack with 0.037, 0.29, and 0.081 respective gains.
Bank of Queensland dropped 0.27 per cent as it finished the share purchase plan component of its $250 million capital raising package.
Health care stocks outperformed to offset the worst of today’s losses. Biotech giant CSL saw red just before midday but fought back to close up 0.55 per cent. Cochlear lifted up in the last minute to close 0.047 per cent green.
Pro Medicus pushed the sector higher after signing a multi-million Google Cloud-based contract with radiology company Nines. PME gained 4.34 per cent to close with shares worth $24.54 each.
Supermarket giant Woolworths helped pull the consumer sector up after spending the better part of the day in the red. Some late afternoon gained saw Woolworths gain 0.08 per cent. Coles couldn’t rise above the red and closed 0.065 per cent down.
Retail conglomerate Wesfarmers helped keep things afloat with a 0.41 per cent rise.
Technology stocks flashed red over the course of the day, but some late-afternoon gains saw the sector close grey. Wisetech closed 0.28 per cent up, Xero 0.4 per cent, and Computershare 0.18 per cent.
Only Afterpay was a stain on the big players in the sector, dropping 1.54 per cent to close with shares worth $30.11 each.
Heading east, Asian markets were mixed today. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained as much as Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost. The Hang Seng was up 0.63 per cent and the Nikkei 225 down 0.63 per cent when the Australian stock market closed.
Back down under, the Aussie dollar is buying more US currency but less British currency today. Currently, the dollar is worth 69.9 US cents and 53.3 pence.
Today’s ups and downs
Digital marketing company Salmat reached its highest share price since 2015 after selling off its managed services division, MicroSourcing. The company sold the business to Probe BPO Holdings for $100 million, marking the second major divestment in the last month. In late November, Salmat sold its marketing solutions division to IVE Group for $25 million. Salmat’s shares closed at an 8.97 per cent premium with shares worth 85 cents.
Junior explorer Oakdale Resources sunk to an all-time low share price of just 0.4 cents after failing to pull in results from a drilling program in Nevada. The company drilled a hole for 152 metres at its Tonopah North Project but returned no significant silver or gold grades. Oakdale’s shares dropped 33.33 per cent today.