NAB falls, FMG, RIO & BHP gain: Aus shares flat at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market opened in the black today with our big miners leading the way, with South32, Fortescue Metals, Rio and BHP charging up after the iron ore price improved. The energy space is also oiling up, after US crude prices continue to trade near one-year highs.

But, with National Australia Bank's (ASX:NAB) shares copping a hit, and financials trading lower, the local bourse is flat lining.

The big four bank reported a surge ahead in its yearly profit to $5.3 billion, up from $352 million in the prior corresponding period to September 2016. But it also announced it will cut 6,000 jobs and will create up to 2,000 new roles.

As a result NAB is trading about 2.7 per cent lower, while Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) and Suncorp (ASX:SUN) are the only big banks going the other way.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 2 points upp, tracking 0.04 per cent at 5,940 at noon. 

On the futures market the SPI is 10 points higher.

Local economic news

Australia’s surplus rose 100 per cent to $1.745 billion in September, in seasonally adjusted terms. The better than expected balance of trade comes as exports or credits rose 3 per cent, with non-monetary gold exports rising the most (17 per cent).

The ABS also reported dwelling or building approvals rose1.8 per cent in September in trend terms, marking eight months of gains.

Company news

Fairfax (ASX:FXJ) shareholders have voted in support of the group separating with its real estate media arm, Domain. The leading media group says subject to court approval Domain should start trading on the ASX on 16 November. Fairfax will hold 60 per cent of Domain’s capital. Fairfax says it will continue to thrive after the separation. Fairfax last reported an $83.9 million net profit in FY17. Shares in Fairfax (ASX:FXJ) are trading flat at $1.09.

Cloud based software company, ELMO software (ASX:ELO) has purchased two specialised software as a service (Saas) based HR software solutions. The purchase will increase its product suite from 7 to 9 modules and cost the business $10 million. It’s snapping up PeoplePulse and LiveSalary with its 300 customers. 14 employees, including CEO Paul Quinn will also join the ELMO team. Shares in ELMO software (ASX:ELO) are trading 10.77 up per cent at $2.88.

Cromwell Property Group (ASX:CMW) has improved its hedging profile by increasing its interest rate protection from 1.6 year to 3.3 years. For the next 3 years 70 per cent of its debt will be protected at 2.25 per cent per annum. Cromwell Property Group (ASX:CMW) are trading 0.5 per cent lower to $1.01.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is materials, gaining 1.4 per cent to 10,945. Shares in Independence Group (ASX:IGO) have risen 5.16 per cent and trading at $4.38. Shares in Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) and Orocobre (ASX:ORE) are also stronger.

The worst performing sector is telcos, falling 1.2 per cent to 1,253. Shares in Telstra Corporation (ASX:TLS) have fallen 1.54 per cent, trading at $3.52. Shares in Vocus Group (ASX:VOC) are trading lower, while Spark New Zealand (ASX:SPK) is on the rise.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,278 an ounce and one Australian dollar is buying 76.94 US cents.

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