Hitting one month highs: Aus shares 0.16% up at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market is on track for its second day of straight gains, and tracking 0.16 per cent up, around the 5,800-point mark, setting a new one-month high.

Most of the market is trading higher after the iron ore price charged about 2.7 per cent higher overnight, pulling up the miners. BHP (ASX:BHP) is about 0.7 per cent higher and outperforming Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG), Rio (ASX:RIO) and South32 (ASX:S32).

Some insurers such as Nib (ASX:NHF) and QBE (ASX:QBE) are shining today in the wake of the Government health insurance reform. On the flip side though, after US crude oil prices fell over 1 per cent over night, we’ve seen some local energy giants fall over 1 per cent, such as Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC), WorleyParsons (ASX:WOR) and Caltex (ASX:CTX)

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 7 points up at 5,801.

On the futures market the SPI is 18 points higher.

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost about 0.03 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained about 0.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.06 per cent.

Local economic news

The RBA released its six-monthly Financial Stability Review, noting concerns about low interest rates and low volatility in financial markets, which promote excessive risk-taking in the search for yield.

The RBA also noticed that if policy uncertainties and geopolitical risks persist and revaluations occur, there would be a spike in volatility and that would weigh on the economic outlook.

It also mentioned ‘potential risks’ in the investment property market.

The ABS revealed mortgagees are spending less income on housing than a decade ago, while the median house price has risen to $520,000.

Company news

Nib Holdings (ASX:NHF) has welcomed the Government’s reform package, which will see cheaper premiums and easier access to mental healthcare. At this stage nib says there will not be an impact on its FY18 guidance and price reductions will not commence until April 2018. Shares in Nib Holdings (ASX:NHF) are trading 0.75 per cent higher at $6.05.

Power generator, Pacific Energy (ASX:PEA) is planning to undertake a buyback of 10 million shares as part of its capital management plan. The buyback will commence on 30 October at the earliest. Shares in Pacific Energy (ASX:PEA) are trading 1.82 per cent higher at $0.56.

Argosy Minerals (ASX:AGY) has raised $15 million through a placement to continue stage two of its Argentinian lithium project. The company says it’s now fully funded to first production of targeted battery grade lithium carbonate. The funds will be used to drilling operations and construction. Shares in Argosy Minerals (ASX:AGY) last traded at 25.5 cents.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Healthcare, gaining 0.69 per cent to 23,585. Shares in Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX:RHC) have risen 3.11 per cent and trading at $65.60. Shares in Healthscope Limited (ASX:HSO) and Primary Health Care Limited (ASX:PRY) are also stronger.

The worst performing sector is Energy, falling 0.28 per cent to 9,289. Shares in Whitehaven Coal Limited (ASX:WHC) have fallen 1.59 per cent, trading at $3.71. Shares in Worleyparsons Limited (ASX:WOR) and Caltex Australia Limited (ASX:CTX) are also lower.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,295 an ounce and one Australian dollar is buying 78.37 US cents.