Telstra plunges and $A soars
Published on: Thursday, February 16, 2017
A big drop in Telstra shares caused by the telco's fall in half year profit has weighed on the share market on another busy day of company earnings reports.
The Australian dollar is close to its highest level against the US greenback in three months, boosted by higher commodity prices and an improving risk sentiment among global investors.
CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner said the share market got off to a good start but the run didn't last, with the main indices closing marginally higher.
"The market has been dragged down a bit by Telstra, and also I think we've encountered a bit of profit taking in response to the higher prices in the last couple of days," Mr Spooner said.
"It's a disappointing result given the strong start that we got off to."
Telstra plunged 6.6 per cent to $4.85 after the telco's half year profit fell 14 per cent to $1.8 billion and the company lowered its full year earnings guidance.
Slater and Gordon was also big loser, plummeting 26 per cent to 20 cents after the law firm flagged falling revenue at its Australian business, with customers heading elsewhere in the wake of the company's problems in the UK.
All four major banks were higher, with Westpac leading the way - up 1.1 per cent.
BHP Billiton gained 1.5 per cent, Rio Tinto added 1.3 per cent and gas and oil explorer and producer Origin Energy fell 2.2 to $7.09 as it posted a $1.68 billion first half loss.
The Australian dollar soared above 77 US cents early in the day and remained there despite a mixed jobs report for January.
The unemployment rate fell to 5.7 per cent, but that was due to a big jump in part-time jobs and fewer people looking for work, while full-time employment fell.
The local currency hit a high of 77.32 US cents - its best level since Donald Trump was elected US president in early November - and at 1700 AEDT had eased back to 77.17 US cents.
ON THE ASX:
* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 gained 7.2 points, or 0.12 per cent, to 5,816.3 points.
* The broader All Ordinaries index added 3.9 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 5,863 points.
* The March SPI 200 futures contract was up five points at 5,764 points with 29,846 contracts traded.
* National turnover was 4.3 billion securities traded worth $7.6 billion.
CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1700 AEDT:
One Australian dollar buys:
* 77.17 US cents, from 76.67 US cents on Wednesday
* 87.85 Japanese yen, from 87.75 yen
* 72.67 euro cents, from 72.49 cents
* 61.89 British pence, from 61.15 pence
* 106.74 New Zealand cents, from 106.89 NZ cents
The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1700 AEDT was $US1,234.80 per fine ounce, up $US9.90 from $US1,224.90 on Wednesday.
BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1630 AEDT:
* CGS 5.25 per cent March 2019, 1.856pct, from 1.860pct
* CGS 4.25pct April 2026, 2.743pct, from 2.7280pct
Sydney Futures Exchange prices:
* March 2017 10-year bond futures contract at 97.165 (implying a yield of 2.835pct), from 97.18 (2.82pct) on Wednesday
* March 2017 3-year bond futures contract at 97.93 (2.07pct), from 97.95 (2.05pct).
(*Currency closes taken at 1700 AEDT previous local session, bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session)
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