Building approvals soar in February: ASX tracking 3% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market shot up at the open and is now tracking 3 per cent higher at noon. Shares in Oil Search (ASX:OSH) and Worley Parsons (ASX:WOR) are doing well today. Yesterday Worley announced Chevron had extended one of their contracts by two years. Jumbo (ASX:JIN) shares are on the decline despite reporting today that they expect higher customer engagement. The best performing sector so far today is Energy with the Financials sector falling behind.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 151 points up at 5,228. On the futures market the SPI is 91 points higher.

Local economic news

ABS Building approvals have risen 19.9 per cent in February, up from a revised 15.1 per cent fall in January. Economists had been expecting an increase of 3 per cent.
The impact of coronavirus is starting to trickle through to house prices, but it is early days yet with price rises across most capital cities still driving national dwelling prices up 0.7 per cent last month according to a report out today by CoreLogic.

Broker moves

Citi rates Invocare (ASX:IVC) as an Upgrade to a Buy from a Neutral. The government has restricted the number of people able to attend funerals in Australia to 10 and this will result in a loss of revenue as Invocare will not be able to offer the same range of services. The broker expects the share price to re-rate higher once any uncertainty around the amount of headroom on the balance sheet is removed. Target is reduced to $13.50 from $14.50. Shares in Invocare (ASX:IVC) 5.4 per cent higher at $11.08.

Company news

National Veterinary Care (ASX:NVL) announced on 12 February 2020 that it had entered into a put and call option agreement in relation to the minority equity interest in its Fitzroy clinic. NVC is pleased to announce that the call option to acquire the minority equity interest in the Fitzroy clinic was exercised on 26 March 2020 and settlement of the acquisition has now occurred. The Fitzroy clinic is now wholly-owned by NVC.
Shares in National Veterinary Care (ASX:NVL) last traded at $3.67.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy adding 8.1 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Financials losing the least adding 1.9 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Oil Search (ASX:OSH) rising 16 per cent to $2.76, followed by shares in NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH) and Worley Parsons (ASX:WOR).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Avita Medical (ASX:AVH) dropping 5.9 per cent to $0.48, followed by shares in Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR) and ARB Corp (ASX:VCX).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,582 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 0.4 per cent up at US$83.32.
Iron ore futures are suggesting a fall 0.8 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 61.22US cents.

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