Exuberance continues for 5th straight day: Aus shares 0.3% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Ellerm

Following positive leads, the Australian share market opened higher and is now tracking 0.3 per cent up at noon. Despite cooling house prices, the exuberance in the local economy shows no signs of slowing down. A raft of positive local economic data out today points to a continued strong jobs market and growing consumer confidence. This is being reflected in positive retail sales, with Noni B the second retailer to revise their guidance upwards today, after a similar announcement from fashion accessories business Lovisa last week.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 18 points up at 6148. On the futures market the SPI is 21 points higher.

Economic news

The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence index jumped 4.7 per cent last week to 122. It is the highest read since late 2013. While the index often moved upwards in January, this year has been stronger than normal, suggesting the move is not purely seasonal. The increase in positive consumer sentiment has been attributed to Australia’s strong performance in the Ashes series and continued strength in the labour market.

However we could be set for a drop next month. ANZ reported today that Job Ads fell in December, down 2.3 per cent from November. On an annual basis the labour market is still significantly stronger than it was a year ago, with ads up 11.4% on an annualised basis.

Company news

Noni B Limited (ASX:NBL) has announced a positive trading update for the first half of FY2018. Like for like sales for the period increased 3 per cent, total sales grew to approximately $190 million and online sales as a proportion of total revenue increased to 4.9 per cent. EBITDA for the period is now expected to be $22 million, an increase of more than 50 per cent on the prior year’s result. Shares in Noni B Limited (ASX:NBL) are trading 5.26 per cent up this morning at $2.00.

Retail Food Group Limited (ASX:RFG) has announced it has downgraded its expected statutory net profit after tax for 1HFY18. The company now expects NPAT to be less than the $22 million advised on 19 December 2017. The global food and beverage company has also announced it has finalised Master Franchise Agreements in the UK in connection with Crust Gourmet Pizza and the Donut King Brand. Shares in Retail Food Group Limited (ASX:RFG) are trading 5.26 per cent lower this morning at $2.34.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector was REITs adding 0.75 per cent to 1,413.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX:GXY), rising 2.22 per cent $4.37. Shares in Independence Group (ASX:IGO) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) are also higher.

The worst performing sector was Consumer Staples, shedding 0.46 per cent to 2,333.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Retail Food Group Limited (ASX:RFG), dropping 5.26 per cent to $2.34. Shares in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (ASX:API) and Sigma Healthcare Limited (ASX:SIG) are also lower.

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,318 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.52 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has fallen 1.13 per cent in the last 24 hours to $15,209
Ethereum dropped 1.6 per cent to $1,170
And Litecoin has tumbled about 11.13 per cent to $255