Earnings results weigh but ASX holds above 6,000: Aus shares 0.3% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market popped higher at the open after all US indices gained ahead of Trump’s State of Union address, with the Nasdaq and Dow Jones up the most, about 0.7 per cent.

The local bourse quickly sank into the red and quickly recovered, with Tech and Industrial stocks leading the charge

Capping gains today is selling in the Financial sector, which seeing some profit taking today, after the sector had its biggest gain in 10 years, rising 4.5 per cent yesterday, which helped the broader ASX hit four-month highs. And in case you missed it yesterday, the RBA kept rates on hold for the 27th time yesterday, as expected.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.3 per cent or 18 points higher at 6,024. On the futures market the SPI is 17 points higher.

Reporting Season

CBA (ASX:CBA) reported its first half 2019 results with a 2 per cent EPS miss according to UBS, while its cash earnings results were 1 per cent ahead of Citi’s expectations. Its cash net profit after tax came in at $4.7 billion, less than $4.8 billion expected by consensus. Citi has a price target of $72.00 for the firm. CBA shares are trading 1.9 per cent lower at $72.23 at noon. 

Company news

Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG) reported a 9 per cent fall in its net profit attributable to shareholders, with a $500 million headline result for the half year to 31 December 2018. Its net earned premium sank 13 per cent to $3.6 billion over the same period, compared to the same period last year. Shares in Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG) are trading 4.5 per cent higher at $7.63 at noon.

Virgin Australia Holdings (ASX:VAH) announced its appointed Paul Scurrah as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the group. Paul has been in transport, logistics, travel and aviation roles for over 20 years. He was most recently in CEO roles at DP World Australia, Queensland Rail, as well as Executive General Management roles at Aurizon (ASX:AZJ), Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) and Tourism Queensland. VAH shares are trading 4.1 per cent higher at $0.19 at noon.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector Industrials adding 2.1 per cent (with Sydney Airports (ASX:SYD) up 4 per cent and Virgin Australia (ASX:VAH) up 3.8 per cent). While the worst performing sector is Financials, shedding 0.8 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Viva Energy Group (ASX:VEA), rising 12.7 per cent to $2.17 after it entered a new alliance with Coles (ASX:COL) with Viva to pay $137 million to Coles at close of the deal in 2029. Shares in Altium (ASX:ALU) and Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG) are following higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Ooh!Media Limited (ASX:OML), dropping 2.5 per cent to $3.65, followed by shares in global asset management group, Janus Henderson Group (ASX:JGH) (after its investors absorbed its results. Citi says the stock offers longer-term valuation appeal but dropped its price target by $0.30 to $31.30) are following lower, along with APA Group (ASX:APA).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,315 an ounce.
Iron ore price is steady at to US$85.53
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 6.3 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.43 US cents.