Australian stocks claw back early losses

Weighlifter Ruslan Nurudinov of Uzbekistan
Adam Nurkiewicz / Getty Images

Defying a weak lead from futures overnight and early local weakness, the ASX200 ground out a solid performance by the close to finish in the black.

The positive result came despite weaker-than-expected employment data, which showed the economy lost 3,900 jobs during August. That fall was in contrast to the market expectations of a 15,000 increase in jobs. Despite the fall, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.6% as Australian’s left the workforce.

Today’s scoreboard:

  • S&P ASX 200: 5,239.90 +12.20 +0.23%
  • All Ordinaries: 5,337.1 +10.5 +0.20%
  • AUD/USD: 0.7466 Flat 0.0%

The consolidation and recovery over the past two trading days on the Australian market has been encouraging. The physical ASX200 index needs to rally just another 11 points to 5250/55 zone to break back into its 2016 uptrend.

More encouraging still, the forward-looking SPI 200 futures contract, which is open more hours of the day and so gives a better indication of the overall global stock market performance, has dragged itself bag inside the uptrend today.

SPI 200 Daily (MT4, AxiTrader)

This is a small boon for market sentiment. But, if both indexes can close inside their respective uptrends at the end of the week’s trade Friday market sentiment will take a big positive hit.

Looking at the sectoral performance today, financials lead the way with the Commonwealth Bank, in particular, finding solid support as it reverses from its weak close at $69.50 on Tuesday. It’s up another 1.91%% in trade today, closing at $71.50.

The NAB was up 1.44% to $26.78, while Westpac, up 0.62% to $29.30, and the ANZ, up 0.23% to $26.07, lagged but were also higher.

ASX 200 sectoral performance 15 September 2016 (Reuters Eikon)

At the other end of the performance table, energy shares were under pressure from continued falls in the price of crude oil this week. From a high of $47.75 last Thursday night the front Nymex crude oil contract fell to $43.42 overnight – a fall of 9%.

Santos is down 2.56% today, Whitehaven coals is off 2.54%, Woodside fell 1.17%, Oil Search dropped 1.02% and Caltex is down 0.8%. APA Group fell 4.1%.

Elsewhere in the region today the Nikkei in Japan is down 1.26% and the Shanghai Composite is off 0.69%.

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