The Australian share market open higher, snapping its three-day losing streak.
From the get go, we had some positive leads to follow with the Dow Jones closing higher, while S&P500 & Nasdaq lost ground on trade war fears.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 6 points up or 0.1 per cent higher at 5,927 at noon and the futures market is suggesting a gain of 17 points.
As for the sectors today, staples are out in front with the most gains and leading half of the sectors higher. It comes as Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) shares gained over 6 per cent after it announced plans to spin off Coles. Woolworths (ASX:WOW) also added about 2.3 per cent.
Miners are also continuing to shine with the iron ore price gaining further momentum, now trading above $72 a tonne. South32 (ASX:S32) is about 3.6 per cent higher with the mining giants, BHP (ASX:BHP), Fortescue (ASX:FMG) and Rio (ASX:RIO) also gaining.
Holding back gains, falls in financials and banks as investors await the outcome of the banking Royal Commission.
Premier Investments (ASX:PMV), one of today’s biggest shiners after reporting a rise in profits.
We are also seeing falls in some health care companies like Primary Health Care (ASX:PRY) after it went ex-dividend
Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) shares are at a five day high, moving back up towards its 50 day moving average. Today it informed shareholders one of its non-executive directors, Ann Godbehere is being potentially added to the board of Royal Dutch Shell. If approved, she will step up to board of the British–Dutch multinational at its AGM in May (23 May 2018). As for shares in Rio, at noon its 0.2 per cent higher at $76.20
Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) announced its intentions to demerge Coles, creating a new top 30 ASX listed company. If approved the demerger it would be completed next financial year and shareholders will receive new shares in Coles, proportionate to their existing shareholders, while Wesfarmers will retain a minority ownership interest, up to 20 per cent in the company. What is also important to note, at the end of last year, Coles accounted for 34 per cent of the Wesfarmers earnings. The demerger is however subject to final board approval, regulatory and shareholder approval. The new powerhouse will be led by Steven Cain as managing director, succeeding John Durkan who will step down later this year. Steven Cain is currently the CEO of Supermarkets and Convenience at Metcash (ASX:MTS). Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) shares are 6 per cent higher at $43.67 at noon.
However Metcash (ASX:MTS) today announced Steven Cain resigned from his role with the firm. Metcash Supermarkets and Convenience CEO will now be Scott Marsh. Its shares are trading 4.6 per cent lower at $3.02.
New Zealand Media and Entertainment, NZME (ASX:NZM) advised its chief financial officer Michael Moran is stepping down from his role for personal reasons. Its chief strategy officer, formerly with KPMG, Sarah Judkins was appointed interim CFO until NZME finds a permanent replacement.
Trimantium GrowthOps (ASX:TGO) listed today. The entrepreneurial firm partners with businesses to help them grow. The company raised $70 million, making it one of the largest tech IPOs of late.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is consumer staples adding 2.8 per cent to 10,512 points while the worst performing sector is financials, shedding 0.7 per cent to 7,015 points.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Premier Investments Limited (ASX:PMV), rising 6.1 per cent to $15.26, followed by shares in Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) and Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Metcash Limited (ASX:MTS), dropping 4.6 per cent to $3.02, followed by shares in Healthscope (ASX:HSO) and Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX:PLS).
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,317 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.77 US cents.
The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading lower: Bitcoin has fallen 0.7 per cent to US$8,129 Ethereum fallen about 0.6 per cent to US$597 and Ripple has shed about 2 per cent to US$0.69.