The ASX was up 56.8pts, or 1 per cent, at 5721.5pts on Monday. Sentiment was lifted amongst Australian investors as concerns over the US interest rate hike partially subsided. The ASX saw a return to high yield stocks on Monday. The Financials powerhouse sector rose 0.87 per cent. However most other sectors performed even better than Financials, with the exception of Information Technology and Discretion rising 0.50 per cent and 0.40 per cent respectively. The Utilities sector led the rally, rising 1.63 per cent. The ASX was marginally up in the morning, and then spiked around 10:25am AEDT. Starting in the second hour of trading, the ASX curved upwards before cooling off slightly near the end of trading on Monday. The Australian dollar has experienced volatility in the last 12 hours. It has settled to US$0.7824 around 4:18pm AEDT.
International markets were mixed in the final day of trading last week. In the US, the Dow Jones was down 0.29 per cent and the S&P 500 was down 0.22 per cent. In Europe, the DAX fell 0.42 per cent and the FTSE 100 was up 0.26 per cent. Japanese stocks continue their streak of gains. The Nikkei 225 is up 0.74 per cent near the end of trading hours on Monday. Chinese markets have returned to a strong upward trend. The Hang Seng is up 1.70 per cent while the Shanghai Composite is up 2.75 per cent so far on Monday. U.S. markets will be closed tonight for Memorial Day.
Skilled Group (ASX:SKE) was up 14.5c, or 11.79 per cent, at $1.38 per share. Skilled Group has announced that it has rejoined merger discussions with Programmed Maintenance Services.
Programmed Maintenance Services (ASX:PRG) was down 11c, or 4.20 per cent, at $2.51 per share. The board members of Skilled rejected the merger deal that Programmed had previously offered in January. The two companies have returned to discussions concerning a potential merger between the rivals.
Rumble Resources (ASX:RTR) was down .4c, or 4.88 per cent, at $0.078 per share. Rumble’s share price began following an upward trend in March following a successful capital raising. Rumble has also brought on former mining billionaire Nathan Tinkler as a corporate advisor.
Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) was up 40c, or 1.23 per cent, at $32.96 per share. Westpac recently announced it would cut its property investment lending discount amid concerns over a new regulation. In the recent weeks, Westpac has been underperforming compared to the other Australian banking giants. However, it has risen more than the other 3 Australian banking giants on Monday.
Author: Simon Herrmann
May 25, 2015
Simon is a financial analyst at independent research firm Wise-owl specialised in small-mid cap growth opportunities and ethical investment opportunities. Simon's aim is to disrupt the cliché approach to investment decision making as he believes that socially and environmentally responsible behaviour is a necessity to long-term wealth creation. Simon has a deep fundamental understanding of the global financial landscape and has compiled 300+ research reports, valuations and corporate appraisals. Simon is commonly featured in major media outlets and his research is published weekly in The Australian.