Mustering up: Aus shares 0.6 per cent higher at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market opened bounced higher at the open after Wall Street closed higher, with the Dow posting a massive recovery from its plunge of 700 points.

Financials are leading the rally today, and most of the sectors higher, which is seeing the local bourse gain momentum in the first two hours of trade.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.6 per cent higher or 35 points up at 5,796. On the futures market the SPI is 30 points higher.

As for stocks, Leading annuity provider Challenger (ASX:CGF) is seeing a lot of shine, up 1.7 at noon, with all the big banks following. Staples like Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE) is up 2.4 per cent.

Going the other way and capping gains today, falls in telcos, miners again after the iron ore price fell slightly, and utilities, with AGL (ASX:AGL) continuing to claim the limelight amid its contentious coal fired power station. 

Local economic news

Australia’s balance of trade fell to a surplus of $825 million in February, down from the previous months $952 million surplus. It comes as imports for consumption goods rose 7 per cent and non-monetary gold import lifted by 17 per cent. Despite the weaker surplus, it beat economist’s expectations the surplus would only be about $700 million.

Meantime the service index, measured by AIG rose more than expected in March, hitting a reading of 56.9, beating forecasts that the reading would fall from the prior month’s index of 54.

Company news 

South32 (ASX:S32) has provided US$275,000 in funding to a small mining company, Inca Mining (ASX:ICG) in order to receive the exclusive option to earn-in and acquire majority ownership of Inca’s lead zinc-silver-lead project in Peru. The US$275,000 funding represents 60 per cent of the project, with the funds going towards a geophysical survey of Inca’s ‘Greater Riqueza project’, but that’s just phase one. Phase two will see South32 snap an extra 10 per cent in the project, which will fund all the necessary spending to fund the pre-feasibility study. Shares in South32 (ASX:S32) are trading 0.8 per cent lower at $3.29 while Inca Minerals (ASX:ICG) is 20 per cent higher at $0.01.

Renewable energy generator and storage facility operator, Genex Power (ASX:GNX) has been given the nod by local landholders to develop a new wind project, as stage three of its Kidston Renewable Energy Hub in north Queensland. The project is planned to connect into the national electricity market, giving Genex significant extra generation capacity. Shares in Genex Power (ASX:GNX) are trading 5.3 per cent higher at $0.30

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is financials, adding 1.2 per cent to 6,837 points while the worst performing sector is utilities, shedding 0.2 per cent to 7,449 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Retail Food Group Limited (ASX:RFG), rising 8 per cent to $0.91, followed by shares in Costa Group Holdings Limited (ASX:CGC) and Nanosonics Limited (ASX:NAN).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX:HVN), dropping 3.5 per cent to $3.59, followed by shares in Sigma Healthcare Limited (ASX:SIG) and Orocobre Limited (ASX: ORE).

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has added 1.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite are not trading due to Ching-Ming festival.

To gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,331 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.16 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has fallen 9 per cent to US$6,682, Ethereum lost about 9 per cent to US$371 and Ripple has fallen about 10 per cent to US$0.49.

Jessica Amir

Finance News Network
Jessica is a senior finance journalist and presents bulletins including the Market Outlook, Market at Midday and Market Wrap. She also interviews ASX CEOs and leading fund managers. She joined FNN in January 2017 with over six years of broadcast journalism experience including with Sky News Business, ABC 1, ABC's The Business and ABC24. She’s also worked as a TV reporter for Prime 7 and WIN News. Jessica has worked in financial planning for over six years with leading wealth managers and in real estate.