Property prices fall more than expected: Aus shares bounce back, 0.4% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The local share market has bounced backed from yesterday’s fall, rising 0.4 per cent at noon. It comes as most of the sectors are trading higher with the Tech sector gaining the most after Afterpay (ASX:APT) shares also bounced back from yesterday’s fall with buyers ploughing back into the stock after AML concerns seemed to have eased. The stock has also been sold down of late, after several directors reduced their holdings to on-sell parcels to US investors.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 25 points or 0.4 per cent higher at 6,556. On the futures market the SPI is 17 points higher.

Local economic news

Residential property prices fell 3 per cent in the March quarter 2019, according to fresh data released from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and that was more than 2.5 per cent drop expected.

All capital cities saw falls in property prices in the quarter 2019, with the larger property falls in Sydney (-3.9 per cent) and Melbourne (-3.8 per cent).

The mean price of dwellings has fallen over the last five consecutive quarters, from $689,700 in the December quarter 2017 to $636,900.

Broker moves

Citi has maintained its buy position in McMillan Shakespeare (ASX:MMS), however it has dropped its 12-month price target by 4 per cent from $16.82 to $16.07. It comes as McMillan Shakespeare downgraded its FY19 earnings on softness in its novated leasing and salary packaging business. Citi also removed the 10 per cent discount previously applied for its Eclipx (ASX:ECX) bid. Shares in McMillan Shakespeare (ASX:MMS), are trading 7.7 per cent lower at $12.32.

Company news

AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) has hired Christine Corbett as chief customer officer to bolster the group’s customer experience, taking effect from the new financial year (1 July 2019). In her 27 years at Australia Post, she held several leadership roles, including two years as chief customer officer, responsible for marketing, digital and customer experience. She also worked as interim chief executive officer at Australia Post prior to joining PwC. The news comes after AGL red lighted its $3 billion takeover offer for telecommunications company Vocus (ASX:VOC). Shares in AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) are trading 0.5 per cent lower at $19.79 at noon.

Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) which is a leading developer of off-the-shelf (allogeneic) cellular medicines has found that children who suffer from steroid refractory acute graft versus host disease, not only have significant less 'quality of life' but it costs the healthcare system $500,000 per patient. Acute GVHD is a potentially life-threatening complication from a allogeneic bone marrow transplant. Mesoblast presented some of its findings at the 24th European Hematology Association Congress. Shares in Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) are trading 0.7 per cent lower at $1.38 at noon.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is S&P/ASX Info Tech, adding 1.2 per cent, while the worst performing sector is S&P/ASX Communication Services shedding 0.6 per cent at noon.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Emeco Holdings Limited (ASX:EHL), rising 8.3 per cent to $2.15, followed by shares in imaging company, Nearmap (ASX:NEA) and Coles Group Limited (ASX:COL) (following cost reductions) 

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Mcmillan Shakespeare Limited (ASX: MMS), dropping 7.7 per cent to $12.32, followed by shares in Speedcast International Limited (ASX:SDA) and Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX:PLS).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 0.1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.04 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,342 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 1.9 per cent to US$108.21 but it’s still holding multi year highs.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 1 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.43 US cents.