The ASX200 opened higher following encouraging leads from the US and has seen a bullish rally during the first two hours of trade, which has propelled the market to a new 11 year high. The XJO is tracking 0.9 per cent higher at noon with every sector except for Financials capping gains ahead of tomorrow's federal election. Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has awarded the Koodaideri Rail Formation South Earthworks contract for their iron ore project in the Pilbara region to mining contractor NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH) causing NRW to take out the top spot as best performing stock on the ASX this morning.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 55 points up at 6,383. On the futures market the SPI is 46 points higher.
Abacus Property Group (ASX:ABP) has appointed Myra Salkinder to success John Thame as chairperson, effective from 1 September 2019. Ms Salkinder has been a member of the board since 2011 and is the representative of Abacus's major investor, the Kirsh Group. This follows the appointment of three new non executive independent directors over the past two years as part of the board's renewal initiative. Shares in Abacus Property Group (ASX:ABP) are trading 1.9 per cent higher at $3.82 at noon.
The shares of Virgin Australia Holdings (ASCX:VAH) are trading lower following their announcement this morning that earnings guidance for the 2019 financial year is expected to be at least $100 million lower than the 2018 financial year result. The company attributes the fall to annual fuel and foreign exchange headwinds, weaker demand, and the foreign exchange environment. Virgin have initiated a network review and have made some immediate adjustments to capacity and the frequency of services to better align with demand conditions. Shares in Virgin Australia Holdings (ASCX:VAH) are trading 2.7 per cent lower at 18 cents at noon.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Info Tech, adding 2.3 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Financials, shedding 0.3 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH), rising 11.8 per cent to $2.94, followed by shares in Bravura Solutions (ASX:BVS) and Appen (ASX:APX).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is St Barbara (ASX:SBM),dropping 10.1 per cent to $2.89, followed by shares in Australia and New Zealand Bank (ASX:ANZ) and Alumina (ASX:AWC).
Asian markets are mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei gained 1.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is also up 1.1 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite has lost 0.3 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,286 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 2.3 per cent to US$99.21.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 3.2 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.96 US cents.