REITs leads the charge: Aus shares 2.4% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock

The Australian share market opened higher following mixed leads from Wall Street and is now tracking 2.4 per cent higher at noon. All of the sectors are in the green with Real Estate Investment Trusts and Industrials leading the charge.

S&P/ASX 200 index

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 132 points higher or 2.4 per cent higher at noon at 5,548. On the futures are suggesting a rise of 119 points.

Broker moves

UBS rates Afterpay Touch Group (ASX:APT) as a sell with a 12 month price target of $13.00. The broker notes that COVID 19 may lead term structural changes in consumer behaviour that would be positive for the buy now, pay later industry and that Afterpay’s balance sheet is strong. However it was quick to point out that Afterpay is an unsecured consumer lending business that is trading at around 9 times its book equity value in the lead up to what could be a severe recession. That aside, the stock has rallied over 200 per cent since the bottom of the market in March. Shares in Afterpay Touch Group (ASX:APT) are trading 9.8 per cent higher at $29.94 at noon.

Company news

The board and senior leadership team of Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) are taking a page of the New Zealand government’s playbook. They have agreed to take a 20% pay cut in light of COVID 19. The board has agreed to a 20 per cent reduction in base board fees and the senior leadership team has agreed to a 20 per cent reduction in fixed remuneration. This will commence on 1 May 2020 and be reviewed in August 2020. Shares in Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) rallied 9.2 per cent higher on the back of this news and were at $2.25 at noon.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trusts, adding 6.2 per cent, while the worst performing sector, although still in the black is Consumer Staples, adding 0.9 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Charter Hall Group (ASX:CHC), rising 12 per cent to $8.12, followed by shares in Afterpay Touch Group (ASX:APT) and Skycity Entertainment Group (ASX:SKC).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC),dropping 4.9 per cent to $1.77, followed by shares in Coca-Cola Amatil (ASX:CCL) and Pendal Group (ASX:PDL).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 2.9 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 2.5 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 0.7 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,708 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 1.7 per cent to US$85.37
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 2.2 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 63.68 US cents.