The Australian share market opened higher following positive leads from US equity markets and is now tracking flat at noon. Most of the sectors are in the green, with Real Estate Investment Trusts leading the charge.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.2 points higher at 6,120. On the futures market the SPI is 3 points higher.
Local economic news
According to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian retail turnover rose 3.3 per cent in July (seasonally adjusted). Turnover was up 12.2 per cent compared to July 2019. Retail turnover rose in all states and territories except Victoria last month.
Credit Suisse rates Qantas (ASX:QAN) as an Underperform, with a 12-month price target of $3.00. Qantas has guided to a significant underlying loss in the 2021 financial year. Management remains uncertain around the timing of a recovery in demand. The broker expects the potential for upside on a two-year view but the current entry point is considered insufficiently attractive. Shares in Qantas (ASX:QAN) are trading 1.9 per cent higher at $3.83
Pathology and imaging healthcare company, Healius (ASX:HLS) has reported underlying net profit after tax from continuing operations was $55.4 million for the year ended 30 June 2020. It suffered a $70.5 million loss after tax – a far cry from the net profit of $55.3 million it achieved the prior year. Underlying earnings before interest and tax came in at the lower end of the guidance, at $102.7 million. The board cut the final dividend but decided to pay the deferred February dividend of 2.6 cents per share, fully franked in October. The board noted that given the strong outlook, it expects regular dividends to re-commence in the first half of 2021. Shares in Healius (ASX:HLS) are trading flat at $3.27.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is REITs, adding 1.1 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Utilities, shedding 1.1 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Suncorp Group (ASX:SUN), rising 8.9 per cent to $9.46, followed by shares in Nearmap (ASX:NEA) and The Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Smart Group Corporation (ASX:SIQ),dropping 4.1 per cent to $6.12, followed by shares in Omni Bridgeway (ASX:OBL) and Oz Minerals (ASX:OZL).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,947 an ounce.
The iron ore price rose 0.2 per cent to US$129.32.
Iron ore futures are flat.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.01 US cents.
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