New Zealand Markets closed

Aust shares flat in no-surprises session

 

Australian shares have ended the day flat with a no-surprises line-up of company profit results failing to fire investor action in the absence of major overseas leads.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index ended Tuesday almost unchanged, down 0.01 per cent, at 5,940.9 points.

Local shares traded without a lead-in from Wall Street after US markets were closed overnight for the President's Day holiday, while China's market was also closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Macquarie Private Wealth division director Martin Lakos said Australian markets held up well, taking direction from a local profit reporting season where most results were in line with expectations.

"Reporting season has been modestly better without shooting the lights out," Mr Lakos said.

Seven West Media gained 9.5 cents, or 18.6 per cent to a month high of 60.5 cents, as the broadcaster posted half-year profit of $100.7 million, up from $12.4 million.

Oil Search announced record production levels, higher prices and a lower PNG tax rate had helped it more than treble full-year net profit but the energy producer's shares slipped four cents to close at $7.55.

Vocus Group lost 10.5 per cent to $2.57 after a 21 per cent fall in the telco's half year profit and a downgrade to its full year earnings guidance.

And Super Retail Group dropped 14.5 per cent to a three year low at $7.03 after the Rebel Sport and Supercheap Auto owner's half year profit fell three per cent, and it announced a $135 million takeover of Kiwi outdoor brand Macpac.

APN Outdoor's dropped 3.8 per cent to $4.35 as it posted full-year profit down nine per cent to $44 million.

Petcare specialist Greencross lifted first-half profit by 8.9 per cent to $23.2 million after strong performances from its shops and in-store vet clinics but shares slid 6.3 per cent to 30 cents.

Across the broader market, iron ore miners were weaker with BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto down 0.4 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively.

Dual-listed BHP unveiled a 37 per cent drop in first-half profit to $US2.02 billion ($A2.55 billion) after the close of market, with the headline result impacted by $US2 billion in losses resulting from the recent US corporate tax cuts.

The major lenders closed lower, Westpac shed 0.8 per cent to $30.11, National Australia Bank was 0.5 per cent lower, ANZ lost 0.3 per cent and the Commonwealth Bank down 0.2 per cent to $74,26.

The Australian dollar dipped during the session following the release of the Reserve Bank of Australia's minutes from its February rates meeting but recovered later.

At 1700 AEDT the Australian dollar was at 79.18 US cents, up from 79.17 US cents on Monday.

ON THE ASX:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 0.7 points, or 0.01 per cent, at 5,940.9.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 1.6 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6,045.6 points.

* The SPI200 futures contract was up 2 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 5,905.0 points.

* National turnover was 3 billion securities traded worth $5.3 billion.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 79.18 US cents, from 79.17 US cents on Monday

* 84.60 Japanese yen, from 84.32 yen

* 63.94 euro cents, from 63.80 euro cents

* 56.66 British pence, from 56.48 pence

* 107.59 NZ cents, from 107.18 NZ cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,340.45 per fine ounce, from $US1,346.47 per fine ounce on Monday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 2.0386pct, from 2.0176pct on Monday

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.8483pct, from 2.8328pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.105 (implying a yield of 2.895pct), from 97.115 (2.885pct) on Monday

* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.82 (2.18pct), from 97.84 (2.16pct).

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)