The Australian share market has drifted lower in early trade following mixed leads from international markets and is tracking 0.1 per cent lower at noon. The Healthcare sector is leading this morning, while the Energy sector trails.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 7 points lower at 6,817. On the futures market the SPI is 28 points lower.
Local economic news
Retail sales dropped 4.2 per cent in December, following a 7.1 per cent rise in November. Turnover rose 9.4 per cent in December compared to the same time the previous year.
UBS rates Aristocrat Leisure (ASX:ALL) as a Buy, reducing its price target to $35.50. The broker has reviewed independent data analysis which indicates that the company’s digital business grew at around 35 per cent over the December quarter. Shares in Aristocrat Leisure (ASX:ALL) are trading 0.8 per cent higher at $31.61.
Coca-Cola Amatil (ASX:CCL) has released a trading update for the fourth quarter of 2020. Group volume was down 5.4 per cent compared to the prior quarter, giving the company some welcome reprieve following a 22.8 per cent drop during the March quarter. Australian volumes also returned to growth in the fourth quarter, following three quarters of volume declines. New Zealand volumes rose an impressive 5.2 per cent. For the full 2020 year, the company expects a 13.9 per cent decreases year on year in earnings before interest and tax, projecting $550.7 million. It anticipates net profit after tax of $340.3 million. The recovery in volumes is good news for the company which is hoping its Coca-Cola European Partners will lift the $9 billion takeover bid. Shares in Coca-Cola Amatil (ASX:CCL) are trading 0.7 per cent higher at $13.00.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Healthcare, adding 1.9 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Energy, shedding 1.8 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Lynas Corporation (ASX:LYC), rising 15.1 per cent to $5.63, followed by shares in Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (ASX:FPH) and Wesfarmers (ASX:WES).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW), dropping 7.8 per cent to $4.37, followed by shares in Afterpay (ASX:APT) and Washington H Soul Pattinson (ASX:SOL).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,865 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 0.6 per cent to US$171.51
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.6 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.56 US cents.