Orica shares on the up after NPAT rise: ASX 0.5% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market rose at the open then took a dip before midday. It recovered slightly and is now tracking 0.5 per cent higher at noon. GrainCorp (ASX:GNC) has seen their shares slide after reporting an underlying net loss after tax of $48 million for the half year due to drought in Eastern Australia. Shares in construction company Adelaide Brighton (ASX:ABC) also fell after reporting underlying net profit after tax for the year to be 10-15 per cent lower. Qantas (ASX:QAN) shares are on the up after reporting their third quarter revenue up 2.3 per cent to $4.4 billion versus prior corresponding period. They have also reached an agreement with Melbourne Airport for the sale of the airline’s domestic terminal. Explosive company Orica (ASX:ORI) shares rose over 7 per cent after reporting NPAT up 35 per cent for the half year. The S&P/ASX 200 index is 28 points up at 6,297. On the futures market the SPI is 29 points higher.

Company news

Lithium developer and takeover target, Kidman Resources (ASX:KDR) has advised that Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) now has until no later than 29 May 2019 ‘to conduct confirmatory due diligence’ on the company. Last week (2 May 2019) Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) made a $776 million takeover offer, offering to snap up the company for $1.90 per share. That’s a 47.3 per cent premium to Kidman’s closing price on 1 May 2019. And today at Kidman’s AGM, it also advised it’s ‘determined’ to take the offer to shareholders, so they can cast their votes. Shares in Kidman Resources (ASX:KDR) are trading 1.9 per cent lower at $1.91 at noon.

Rio Tinto's (ASX:RIO) AGM is currently underway in Perth with chief executive Jean-Sébastien Jacques noting the biggest return to shareholders this year of US $13.5 billion. The company has also awarded a five year contract to provide maintenance to their Iron Ore’s Pilbara rail network in Western Australia to Indigenous-owned contractor Yurra. The $20 million contract is intended to grow Yurra as a business while also bringing benefits to the wider community. Shares in Rio Tinto's (ASX:RIO) are 0.5 per cent lower at $95.48.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Telecommunications services, adding 2.1 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Materials, shedding 0.2 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Orica (ASX:ORI), rising 5.6 per cent to $0.00, followed by shares in Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN) and Washington H Soul Pattinson (ASX:SOL).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Adelaide Brighton (ASX:ABC), dropping 7.2 per cent to $3.89, followed by shares in Fletcher Building (ASX:FBU) and Graincorp (ASX:GNC).

Asian markets

Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 0.9 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.6 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite lost 0.5 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,280 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 0.6 per cent to US$95.57
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.4 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 69.73 US cents.