ASX catches US tailwind: Aus shares 0.56% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Ellerm

Following strong leads, the Australian share market opened higher and is now tracking 0.56 per cent up at noon. Investor confidence was boosted this morning on news the Dow had cracked another record high, this time pushing past the 25,000 mark for the first time. Telcos took the lead this morning, while Real Estate slipped.

Positive news on the retail front this morning from Lovisa may be warming the hearts of investors in other retail holdings. The fashion accessories company reported strong Christmas and Boxing Day sales, and now expects first half to December EBIT to come in 22 to 24 per cent higher compared to the previous year.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 35 points up at 6112. On the futures market the SPI is 43 points higher.

Local economic news

The ABS has reported the trade deficit widened to $628 million in November 2017, compared to a $302 million deficit in October. Exports were flat month on month, while imports lifted 1 per cent.

Company news

Billabong International Limited (ASX:BBG) has announced its board has backed a $380 million takeover bid from Boardriders, a company controlled by private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management. Oaktree currently holds 19 per cent of the shares in Billabong and is one of the company’s two senior lenders. Billabong has entered into a formal scheme of arrangement, with the surfwear group’s directors unanimously recommending the scheme to shareholders. Shares in Billabong International Limited (ASX:BBG) are trading 2.08 per cent higher this morning at $0.98.

Kina Securities Limited (ASX:KSL) has announced Syd Yates, CEO and Managing Director of the Kina group of companies has retired, effective January 2. The planned retirement was first announced to the market mid 2017. Greg Pawson, former Regional Head of Westpac South Asia and Pacific will replace Mr Yates. Highlights from Mr Yates tenure including overseeing the listing of Kina on the ASX in 2015 and the acquisition of Maybank PNG in the same year. Shares in Kina Securities Limited (ASX:KSL) last traded at $0.74.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was Telecommunications adding 1.12 per cent to 1,340.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Reliance Worldwide Corporation (ASX:RWC), rising 3.97 per cent to $4.19. Shares in Orocobre Limited (ASX:ORE) and Western Areas (ASX:WSA) are also higher.

The worst performing sector was Real Estate Investment Trusts, shedding 0.55 per cent to 1,394.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Beach Energy (ASX:BPT), dropping 4.51 per cent to $1.27. Shares in Wisetech Global (ASX:WTC) and Bega Cheese Limited (ASX:BGA) are also lower.

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,323 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.58 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has gained 0.46 per cent in the last 24 hours to $15,329
Ethereum lifted about 2.87 per cent to $986
And Litecoin has dropped about 1.2 per cent to $239