the asx gains for the fourth straight session with all sectors ending in the green 1484332015

Fortescue in the limelight as Chinese investors said to be circling the company

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By :  ,  Financial Analyst

The Australian share market clocked a 1 per cent gain for the second consecutive session. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 was boosted by a strong show from mining stocks and the big banks, despite a holiday in major international markets.

Reports of Chinese interest in a stake in Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) spurred the stock to the top of the best gainers’ list.

In market action, S&P/ASX 200 rallied sharply in the first two hours of trade but spent the rest of the day trading mostly sideways in a range between 5,755 and 5,775.

Indices and sectors

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 on Monday rose 56.8 points, or 1.0 per cent, and closed at 5,721.5, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 51.7 points, or 0.9 per cent, at 5,719.9.

The top gaining sectors were utilities (+2.45 per cent), consumer discretionary (+1.16 per cent), financials (+1.15 per cent) and real estate investment trusts (+1.11 per cent). There were no losing sectors.


Mining stocks rose across-the-board as iron ore prices rebounded. BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) was up 1.15 per cent to AU$29.82 and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) gained 1.15 per cent to AU$58.29, but Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) carried the day with a gain of 10.60 per cent and closing at AU$2.40. Investors piled into the Fortescue stock on reports of investment interest by Chinese industrial giants, pushing it to the top of the ASX 200 gainers’ list. However, Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX:MGX) fell 2.13 per cent to AU$0.230, while BC Iron Limited (ASX:BCI) gained 3.61 per cent to close at AU$0.430.

In energy, Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) was up 0.98 per cent to AU$36.66, Origin Energy Ltd (ASX:ORG) gained 1.33 per cent at AU$12.98, Oil Search Limited (ASX:OSH) Ltd was up 0.26 per cent at AU$7.64 and Santos Ltd (ASX:STO) shot up 0.97 per cent to AU$8.35.

Investors were back chasing the big banks, encouraged by ratings agency Moody’s favorable response to banks’ moves to de-risk home loans by tightening lending criteria. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) was up 0.76 per cent to AU$84.64, Westpac Banking Corp (ASX:WBC) surged 2.09 per cent to AU$33.65, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) was up 1.14 per cent to AU$32.69 and National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX:NAB) gained 1.40 per cent to AU$34.00.

Retailers too received investor attention, with Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX:WES), the owner of supermarket chain Coles, up 0.41 per cent to AU$44.08, Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) gained 0.18 per cent to AU$28.53, and Myer Holdings Ltd (ASX:MYR) shot up 1.69 per cent to AU$1.50. However, Caltex Australia Limited (ASX:CTX) shed 0.38 per cent at AU$34.07.

In telecommunications, Telstra Corporation Ltd (ASX:TLS) was up 0.16 per cent to AU$6.29, TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX:TPM) remained unchanged at AU$9.09, M2 Group Ltd (ASX:MTU) was up 0.64 per cent to AU$10.99 and iiNet Limited (ASX:IIN) gained 0.31 per cent at AU$9.79.

In airlines, Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd (ASX:VAH) remained unchanged at AU$0.490, while Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) shot up 1.15 per cent to AU$3.53.

Economic news, currency and insight

Greece is in danger of defaulting on a payment of US$1.76 billion due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next week, according to ABC. "I want to be very honest, this money will not be given and is not there to be given," said Greek interior minister Nikos Voutsis on TV. "This is known and we are talking on the basis of the optimism that we have – cautious optimism, but optimism none the less – that there will be strong agreement that will allow the country to breathe."

On Wall Street on Tuesday, the S&P500 fell by the most in three weeks as healthy economic data increased the likelihood of a rate hike and fears of a Greek default loomed larger, adding to strength in the US dollar. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 190.48 points, or 1.04 percent, to 18,041.54, the S&P 500 lost 21.86 points, or 1.03 per cent, to 2,104.2 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 56.61 points, or 1.11 per cent, to 5,032.75.

The Australian dollar was trading weaker following the strength in the US dollar due to upbeat US economic data, according to Business Spectator. U.S. business investment spending plans increased impressively in April, consumer confidence picked up this month and house prices extended gains in March. At 06:30 this morning (AEST), the Aussie was trading at 77.37 US cents, down from 77.96 US cents on Monday.

The Australian stock market is likely to open lower today given that at 6.50 am (AEST) on Wednesday the June ASX SPI200 Index (AP) Futures were down 30 points at 5,748.

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