The Australian share market opened higher and followed on from Wall Street as shares gained in early trading led by the technology sector. The market is now tracking 0.5 per cent higher at noon. Apple boosted the NASDAQ and back home we also saw tech doing well. Nearmap (ASX:NEA) shares rallied and Technology One climbed and Wisetech Global (ASX:WTC) also rose. The Utilities sector is leading the way and the Energy sector trailing behind in the first two hours of trade.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 36 points up at 6,674. On the futures market the SPI is 0.5 per cent higher.
Pharmaceutical company Starpharma (ASX:SPL) says results from a recent study into its clinical stage colon cancer treating drug, DEP irinotecan show significantly enhanced efficacy benefits. The company said the drug showed impressive results over standard irinotecan known as Camptosar, used to treat colon cancer and olaparib otherwise known as Lynparza used to treat a variety of cancers alone. Shares in Starpharma (ASX:SPL) are 0.5 per cent up to $1.13.
Westpac Group (ASX:WBC) Chief Executive Officer Brian Hartzer today announced that Peter King, Chief Financial Officer, has decided to retire in 2020 after 25-years with the bank. Mr King has been the CFO since 2014 and prior to his current role was Deputy CFO. Shares in Westpac Group (ASX:WBC) are 0.7 per cent up at $29.82.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Utilities, adding 1.3 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Energy, shedding 0.5 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Blackmores (ASX:BKL), rising 5.9 per cent to $78.26, followed by shares in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API) and Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is IOOF Holdings (ASX:IFL), dropping 3.9 per cent to $5.71, followed by shares in Cooper Energy (ASX:COE) and Nanosonics (ASX:NAN).
Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.9 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has shed 0.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 0.1 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,493 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.5 per cent to US$94.66
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.8 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.72US cents