The ASX inched higher at the open this morning following positive leads from Wall Street. It is now tracking 0.04 per cent lower at noon. About half of the sectors have made gains this morning with Materials and Healthcare leading the way. Hong Kong billionaire Lawrence Ho has agreed to purchase almost half of James Packer's shares in Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN). Since this announcement last night shares in Crown Resorts have taken a dip as investors brace for a lengthy probity process.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 2 points down at 6,390. On the futures market the SPI is 3 points lower.
Local economic news
The Reserve Bank of Australia released data showing that private sector credit for the month of April was up 0.2 per cent compared to the previous month. This fell short of the consensus expectation of a 0.3 per cent rise. Year on year April saw a 3.7 per cent rise in private sector credit.
Citi has downgraded Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC). The stock remains a buy however the 12-month price target has been reduced from $5.80 to $4.45. This follows the company's downgraded guidance for the 2019 financial year. Citi says the factors driving the downgrade, such as risk in the agricultural sector are mostly short-lived and theyexpect an earnings rebound in 2020. Shares in Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC) are trading 5.1 per cent lower at $3.56.
AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) has appointed Damien Nicks as Chief Financial Officer on an ongoing basis. Mr Nicks has been interim CFO since August 2018. He has more than 24 years of local and international experience across large multinational businesses including Linfox Logistics, Smorgon Steel, Cantor Fitzgerald and Deloitte in senior finance, commercial and operational roles. AGL Managing Director & CEO, Brett Redman says his appointment is "an important step as [they] finalise [their] leadership group and pursue [their] strategic priorities of growth, transformation and social licence”. Shares in AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) are trading 1.1 per cent lower at $20.45.
Peer to peer lending services marketplace, Wisr (ASX:WZR), has confirmed that the second tranche of share rights issued to the company’s directors in November 2016 has vested. The vestment was triggered by the achievement of price performance hurdles. The company says that the vesting conditions were designed to align the interests of directors with those of shareholders in order to encouraging the ongoing pursuit of value maximisation for stakeholders. Earlier this month, the Company completed the second tranche of a placement undertaken to raise $15 million. Shares in Wisr (ASX:WZR) are trading 3.2 per cent lower at $0.15.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Materials, adding 0.7 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Information Technology, shedding 3 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX), rising 29.5 per cent to $1.12, followed by shares in Lynas Corporation (ASX:LYC) and Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Link Administration Holdings (ASX:LNK),dropping 20 per cent to $6.21, followed by shares in St Barbara (ASX:SBM) and Appen (ASX:APX).
Mixed. The Nikkei is down 0.7 per cent, the Hang Seng has risen 0.1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has risen 0.2 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,292 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 2.2 per cent to US$103.87
One Australian dollar is buying 69.14 US cents.