Geopolitical tensions ease: Aus shares 0.37% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market is seeing a mostly sea of green today on the back of geopolitical tensions easing. The majority of sectors are trading higher, really after the three major US indices bounced back after President Trump tweeted ‘never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!’

Metals are heading lower with the US dollar strengthening its muscle, while the iron ore price has softened, but its futures point to a gain. Lithium play Orocobre (ASX:ORE) is up 2 per cent, along with mining giants like Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and Fortescue (ASX:FMG).

But a big shiner today in the mining space, Fletcher Building (ASX:FBU) up over 10 per cent after it confirmed that Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) has been accumulating shares in its company, and now holds 3-4 per cent of its shares. That news sent its shares soaring.

Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN) has extended its rally from yesterday and is trading over 7 per cent higher at the minute after the crude oil price hit a fresh 3 year high overnight.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.37 per cent higher or 20 points up at 5,836. On the futures market the SPI is 21 points higher.

Company news 

CBA (ASX:CBA) has entered into an enforceable undertaking with corporate watchdog, ASIC, for an advice fee refund program. Commonwealth Financial Planning and BW Financial Planning Advice entered into the agreement to make a community benefit payment of $3 million. They will also have EY verify that its service delivery processes meet regulatory and client (community) standards. It follows CBA flagging and self-reporting to the regulator that some customers from the same entities weren’t receiving a yearly review as part of their finanical advice package that they paid for. The bank paid $88 million plus interest to affected customer, covering the period from 2007 to 2015. Next week the Royal Commission will hear ‘more about issues’ about its finanical advice and where it’s failed. Its shares are trading 0.3 per cent higher at $73.31.

Financial services company, Netwealth (ASX:NWL) saw a soft lift of 4 per cent in its funds under administration in the quarter, taking it to $16 billion. Meantime, its funds under management rose 6 per cent in the quarter to $2.6 billion. And according to Investment Trends it’s now the most widely used managed account platform for financial planning. They were also voted the best overall platform in 2017, marking its third win in three years. Its shares are trading 2.2 per cent lower at $6.17.

And in regards to the Australian international cricket matches cricket rights, Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) says it is the most successful bidder with Foxtel. Contracts are being finalised and are not yet signed, but it will make a full announcement this afternoon. Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC) also announced that although it was not granted rights for the 2018/2019 summer it will not impact its FY18 results. However Nine says it’s not yet possible to give an indication of the likely impact on FY19. Shares in Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) are trading 8.7 per cent higher at $0.56 while Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC) trades 0.4 per cent lower at $2.24.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is materials adding 1 per cent to 11,516 points while the worst performing sector is consumer staples, shedding 0.1 per cent to 10,181 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Fletcher Building Limited (ASX:FBU), rising 10.7 per cent to $6.15, followed by shares in Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) and Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Bellamy's Australia Limited (ASX:BAL), dropping 2.6 per cent to $20.66, followed by shares in Flight Centre Travel Group (ASX:FLT) and Independence Group Nl (ASX:IGO).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.9 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.5 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.3 per cent.

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,339 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.64 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin trades at US$7,793, Ethereum is at US$486 and EOS is at US$8.93.