The local share market started the trading week searching for direction. In the first hour of trade the local bourse fell and recouped its early losses, before flatlining at noon.
Most of the sectors are in the black with Energy stocks leading the charge after the WTI crude price rose 15 cent (0.3 per cent to US$55.78) after a tanker was seized by the Iranian military.
On Friday US equities closed in the red, with the major indices posting their worst weekly loss since May, as investors await the Federal Reserve’s decision on how much it will cut rates, while earnings season in the US ramps up this week with a lot of tech major companies releasing results.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 4 points up or 0.1 per cent higher at 6,704. On the futures market the SPI is flat.
Citi has reiterated its buy position for National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) with a 12 month price target of $29.50, after former RBS CEO Ross McEwan was appointed CEO and Managing Director of NAB, to take up the position in April 2020 at the latest, after his obligations with RBS have ended. Citi says NAB’s core business performance has been very good relative to its peers. Citi says the combination of Ross McEwan as CEO with Phil Chronican as Chairman, is the most experienced combination that NAB has had in two decades and as strong as any in the market. At noon, National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) shares are trading 0.4 per cent higher at $27.62
Leasing business, FlexiGroup Limited (ASX:FXL) which owns buy-now-pay later business, humm, has now partnered with 15,000 businesses including Bing Lee, Betta Electrical, Jaycar and 1300 SMILES. Average sales are $3,760. Humm offers customers the opportunity to buy an item in five or 10 repayments. humm’s differentiated offering enables transactions of up to $30,000, completely interest free. Flexigroup says, humm ‘is not only resonating with both retailers and consumers, but is also displacing competitors’. Shares in FlexiGroup Limited (ASX:FXL) are trading 11.2 per cent higher at $1.84 at noon. Year-to-date FlexiGroup Limited (ASX:FXL) shares up are 38 per cent, Afterpay (ASX:APT) is up 93 per cent at $23.91, and Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) is up 180 per cent at $3.05.
Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) has announced a major upgrade in its mineral resources and ore reserves for its Ravenswood Gold Mine in Queensland. Its mineral resources are up 24 per cent to 5.9 million ounces. Ore reserves are up 58 per cent to 2.7 million ounces, and there is an addition of 1 million ounces in reserve. Shares in Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) are trading 1.4 per cent higher at $1.77 at noon.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is S&P/ASX Energy, adding 1.3 per cent, Matarials and Telcos, while the worst performing sector is S&P/ASX A-REIT, shedding 1 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Speedcast International Limited (ASX:SDA), rising 5.8 per cent to $1.91, followed by shares in Emeco Holdings Limited (ASX:EHL) and Elders Limited (ASX:ELD).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Invocare Limited (ASX:IVC), dropping 4.7 per cent to $15.44, followed by shares in Boral Limited (ASX:BLD) and Austal Limited (ASX:ASB).
Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has shed 0.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is flat lining.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,424 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.6 per cent to US$121.79
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.6 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.42 US cents.