The Australian share market is back in bull record territory, resilient to weak leads from Wall Street. All the sectors are higher today with the consumer staples leading followed by the discretionary space, while commodities are rallying after China manufacturing unexpectedly rose yesterday.
NAB (ASX:NAB) reported its net profit fell 5.7 per cent in the March 2018 quarter, compared to September 2017’s quarter, with NPAT hitting $2.58 billion. Compared to the same time last year, NAB’s profit rose 1.5 cent. It flagged selling or what they called ‘reshaping’ wealth management by exiting its advice, platform, superannuation and asset management businesses operation under MLC. UBS says the bank's results was subdued with revenue trends continuing to slow. UBS has noted down the bank as sell and today its shares are 0.5 per cent lower
ANZ (ASX:ANZ) was the first of the big four out to report (1 May) and its results were generally in line with expectations. WBC (ASX:WBC) is due next Monday 7 May. While CBA (ASX:CBA) quarterly update date is not yet determined.
Iron ore price jumped 2.4 per cent to US$66.98 and iron ore future are pointing to another rise of over 2 per cent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.83 per cent or 51 points at 6,101. On the futures market the SPI is 32 points higher.
Local economic news
Australia’s trade surplus hits $1.53 billion in March, a decent improvement from $1.35 billion in February. It also smashed through expectations the balance of trade for imports and exports would fall to $65 million. It comes as exports rose 1 per cent with merchanting exports (such as wholesale or retail goods) rising the most, up 14 per cent, with non-monetary gold exports and rural goods following.
And building permits rose more than expected.
Bapcor (ASX:BAP) is one of today’s top performers after it reiterated it’s on target for its full year NPAT guidance. In response to Amazon launching in Australia, the aftermarket car-parts and accessory business says if the tech giant does go into the auto market it will likely be on products that don’t require professional fitment or advice and Bapcor hinting this may be an opportunity. And in response to electric car demand, Bapcor says it’s well place to supply electronic components and batteries, especially through its electrical and electronics wholesale business. They presented at Macquarie Australia’s Conference today. At noon, Bapcor shares trading 5.1 per cent higher at $6.29.
Bendigo and Adelaide Bank’s (ASX:BEN) agribusiness, Rural Bank also presented at Macquarie’s Australia’s Conference today noting that bank lending to the farming industry has hit $60 billion in December 2017, and it rose 4.5 per cent from June 2015. It also noted price had made a bigger contribution than volume over the last two decades, while a weakening Australian dollar and global demand from a globally growing middle class bodes well for Australian agriculture. Shares in Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (ASX:BEN) are trading 0.8 per cent higher at $10.77
Global Geoscience (ASX:GSC) a top 300 lithium player reported a 50 per cent faster leach time, which is the time it takes to extract precious metals and other compounds from ore via a series of chemical reactions. It also reported a 15 per cent reduction in acid consumption. It also reported higher lithium and boron concentration levels (in pregnant leach solution (PLS) and higher recoveries. It also advised Amec Foster Wheeler completed phase 1 of the pre-feasibility study and will hand down results this month. All this news sent GSC shares up 5.8 per cent higher to $0.46.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is staples adding 1.6 per cent while the worst performing sector is reits, gaining 0.3 per cent higher.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Seven West Media Limited (ASX:SWM), rising 9.3 per cent to $0.65, followed by shares in Super Retail Group Limited (ASX:SUL) and Nine Entertainment co. Holdings limited (ASX:NEC).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Healthscope Limited. (ASX:HSO), dropping 3.2 per cent to $2.39, followed by shares in Invocare Limited (ASX:IVC) and CSR (ASX:CSR).
Japan’s Nikkei is not trading, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 1.5 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.5 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,310 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.16 US cents.
Bitcoin at US$9,225, is Ethereum trades at US$693