The Australian share market opened higher after we had positive leads from Wall Street with Trump announcing that he will hand down his decision tomorrow on if he will lift sanctions on Iran, in exchange for the Middle Eastern nation curbing its nuclear program. Energy were the best performers in the US and they were the ASX’s best performers yesterday.
The oil price trades around the $70.00 but some energy stocks are in the red today on the back of profit taking.
Iron ore price rose 1.5 per cent to US$67.26 and its futures are pointing to a rise of 1.5 per cent with miners trading slighting higher. The likes of Rio (ASX:RIO) is trading 0.7 per cent higher and Fortescue (ASX:FMG) is making minor gains.
At noon, half of the sectors are making gains and have pushed the major index back into 10-year record territory.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 26 points or 0.42 per cent higher at 6,111. On the futures market the SPI is 25 points higher.
Local economic news
Retail trade remained steady in March in seasonally adjusted terms, disappointing economists who expected a rise of 0.3 per cent. The flat month comes after retail sales rose 0.6 per cent in February.
And the Government will hand down the Federal Budget at 7.30pm. We are expecting that our stronger economy should return tax cuts and higher infrastructure spending, while remaining on track to return to a budget surplus by 2020-21.
Company news now
Fund manager, Platinum Asset Management’s (ASX:PTM) shares are soaring today about 10 per cent higher. After market close last night, it advised that its funds under management rose from $27 billion to $28 billion. At noon, shares in Platinum Asset Management (ASX:PTM) are trading 10 per cent higher at $6.16.
IPH (ASX:IPH) the holding company for intellectual property announced a $40 million on market share buy-back, which will remain in place for 12 months. IPH says it enables the firm to pursue future growth opportunities while also benefiting shareholders. The company says it will not affect its dividend policy. Shares in IPH (ASX:IPH) are trading 4.9 per cent higher at $4.05
Private hospital operator, Healthscope (ASX:HSO) received some extra financial backing today after NorthWest Healthcare Property REIT (TSX:NWH.UN) snapped up 10 per cent in the company, via a derivative (or finanical security) that was traded through Deutsche Bank. The shares were purchased at $2.39. HSO trades 3.1 per cent higher at $2.48.
Regenerative medicine company, Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) presented its latest phase 3 trial results for acute graft versus host disease (aGVHD) at the 2018 International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy annual meeting in Boston. The company’s trial is being conducted with a US FDA investigational drug, which aims to be the first approved therapy in children with the disease. Its shares are 1 per cent lower at $1.47.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is healthcare adding 1.1 per cent while the worst performing sector is telcos, shedding 0.6 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Platinum Asset Management (ASX:PTM) are trading 10 per cent higher at $6.16, followed by shares in IPH (ASX:IPH) the) and Healthscope (ASX:HSO).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is GWA (ASX:GWA), dropping 3.8 per cent to $3.64, followed by shares in Aurizon Holdings (ASX:AZJ) and Xero (ASX:XRO).
Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.5 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,313 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.01 US cents.
Bitcoin US$9,448, Ethereum is at US$772 and EOS trades at to US$18.31.