Headline indices of the Australian financial market closed down on Monday, 11 February 2019, as declines in banks and healthcare stocks overshadowed rally in resources stocks. At closing bell, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index dropped 10.61 points, or 0.17%, to 6,060.85 points, while the broader All Ordinaries index shed 7.58 points, or 0.12%, to 6,128.57 points.
Financial stocks declined, with shares of the major banks were down between 1.24% and 1.62%, with NAB leading the losses, slipping down 40 cents to A$24.35. Bendigo and Adelaide closed down 6.8% to A$10.39, after the regional lender announced its first-half profits had dipped 2.4% to A$219 million.
Healthcare stocks took a hit as a Royal Commission inquiry into Australia’s aged care industry opened earlier today. Index heavyweight CSL closed 1.7 per cent lower.
Shares in aged care operators shot up after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $662 million funding boost on Sunday, ahead of hearings by a royal commission into aged care. aged care operator Estia Health which rose 7.3% in response to more government funding. Regis Resources was up 2.94% to A$5.26 cents; Japara Healthcare up 5.2% to A$1.315; and Estia Health up 7.3% to A$2.50.
The Shares of pharmacy business Sigma Healthcare grew 5.4% after announcing plans to reduce its costs by over $100 million.
Materials and resources stocks were up, as Chinese iron ore futures hit record highs on concerns over supplies from Brazil in the wake of the dam collapse at a mine last month that killed more than 300 people. Iron ore futures have spiked 22% since a January 27 dam collapse in Brazil, which forced mining giant Vale to suspend some operations, jumping from $75.30 to $92.13. The biggest miner on the index, BHP Group Ltd closed up 2%, while Rio Tinto Ltd gained 1.8%. Fortescue Metals rose 3.48%.
Among individual stocks: JB Hi-Fi went up 1.8% in response to the continuing revenue and profit growth that was reported this morning. JB Hi-Fi has lifted first-half profit 5.5% to $160.1 million despite volatile holiday trading for the electronics and home entertainment retailer. Revenue for the six months to December 31 rose 4.2% to $3.84 billion, with comparable sales in Australia, New Zealand and at The Good Guys – the white goods business it bought in 2016 – all going up.
AAC shares were down 12.26% after it said it expected “extreme” cattle deaths at its 30,000-head Wondoola station in the Gulf country.
Incitec Pivot shares closed down 2.07% after the company said it would lose $10 million a week until rail lines in the region reopen so it can resume operations.
CURRENCY: Australian Dollar rose against greenback and against a basket of other peers on Monday. The Aussie dollar was buying 70.95 US cents, from 70.85 US cents on Friday.
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