The Australian share market rose at the open, recovering from yesterday’s losses. We had positive leads from the outset with Wall Street etching its fourth day of gains, while commodities, such as iron ore and oil rallied (with the crude oil price back above US$60.00).
Traders and investors are also digesting a suite of better than expected half year and full year financial results with reporting season fully underway. The likes of HT&E (ASX:HT1) shares have gained over 10 per cent today on the back of stronger revenues and earnings with most of the sectors in the green today. While the property sector trades below the line with the likes of Abacus Property Group (ASX:ABP) trading over 2 per cent lower.
IPH (ASX:IPH) has also taken a big hit after releasing its half year 2018 financial results.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 55 points or 0.9 per cent higher to 5,896. On the futures market the SPI is 52 points higher. .
Local economic news
Female labour force participation hit an all time high, while trend the unemployment rate for January remained steady at 5.5 per cent, where it has hovered for the past seven months, despite some expecting a drop to 5.4 per cent.
Suncorp Group Limited (ASX:SUN) has seen its net profits after tax slide over the six months to December end, falling about 16 per cent to $452 million. It was largely affected by severe hail storms in Victoria last year, which saw a spike in insurance claims, while it was also hampered by a business investment. Their earnings on a cash basis were $472 million and below what market watchers were expecting. Shares in Suncorp Group Limited (ASX:SUN) are trading 3 per cent lower at $12.92.
Oil and gas company, Oil Search (ASX:OSH) has completed the US$400 million purchase of its interest in Alaska North Slope. The company says it’s a world class opportunity and will drive value to shareholders. Its shares are trading 2.2 per cent higher at $7.52.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is materials adding 2 per cent to 11,739 points while the worst performing sector is REITs, shedding 0.1 per cent to 1,284 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is HT&E (ASX:HT1), rising 11.2 per cent to $1.74, followed by shares in Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG) and Resolute Mining Limited (ASX:RSM).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is IPH (ASX:IPH), dropping 18.5 per cent to $4.17, followed by shares in Domino's Pizza Enterprises Limited (ASX:DMP) and Healthscope Limited (ASX:HSO).
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,352 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 79.27 US cents.
The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading higher: Bitcoin has gained 9 per cent to $9,424, Ether gained about 0.4 per cent to $1.00 and Ethereum rose about 8 per cent to $913.