Construction work falls 2.6% in Sept quarter: ASX tracking 0.8% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market rose at the open and is now tracking 0.8 per cent higher at noon. Shares in Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) are doing well today meanwhile shares in Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) have dropped over 5 per cent after a rally earlier this week.

The S&P/ASX 200 index

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 53 points up at 6,697. On the futures market the SPI is suggesting a rise of 48 points.

Local economic news

Total construction work done fell 2.6 per cent to $51.2 billion in the September quarter.

Broker moves

Citi rates Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) as an Upgrade to a Neutral from a Sell. Citi notes increasing competition does not appear to have affected customer usage or margins in the company's October trading update. Yet the broker continues to envisage downside risk to medium-term growth forecasts and margins from competition.Target price is $6.70. Shares in Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) are 4.5 per cent lower $5.98.

Company news

Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN) has reported a 160.1 per cent increase in profit before tax between July 1 and October 31 to $341.11 million compared to $131.17 million for the prior corresponding period. They reported a 28.2 increase in aggregated sales from Harvey Norman wholly-owned company-operated stores in New Zealand, Slovenia, Croatia, Ireland, and Northern Ireland and from majority-owned company-operated stores in Singapore and Malaysia and independent Harvey Norman, Domayne and Joyce Mayne branded stores. Shares in Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN) are currently 1.2 per cent lower at $4.65.

IPO

Mobile engagement solutions provider Plexure Group (ASX:PX1) started trading today at $1.16, and is currently trading at $1.15. 

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy adding 3.1 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Information Technology shedding 2.1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) rising 10.7 per cent to $1.55, followed by shares in Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) and Platinum Asset Management (ASX:PTM).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) dropping 5.6 per cent to $4.22, followed by shares in NextDC (ASX:NXT) and ZIP Co (ASX:Z1P).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,811 an ounce.
Iron Ore Price has gained 0.1 per cent at $127.42.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.3 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.61US cents.