Sonic boom: Aus shares 0.8% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market broke its two-day losing streak and is making green track with health stocks leading the claw back.

Sonic Health Care (ASX:SHL) has surged up 5.65 per cent, setting a new all-time high, taking the chart to new heights.

Meantime the energy sectors trails behind after the US crude oil price plunged 5 per cent, seeing its worst day in over a year.

Miners are also seeing a little selling, with the three major iron ore players BHP (ASX:BHP), Rio (ASX:RIO) and Fortescue (ASX:FMG) seeing muted gains after the iron ore price fell 0.9 per cent to US$63.34 while its futures are pointing to a rise of 1.64 per cent.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.8 per cent or 47 points higher at 6,263. On the futures market the SPI is eyeing a lift of 38 points.

Company news

Rural Funds Group (ASX:RFF) is set to buy feedlots from Australia’s largest lot feeder and cattle processor, JBS Australia. As of the conditional agreement, RFF will buy JBS’s Queensland and New South Wales Feedlots for $52.7 million, which equates to 15 per cent of Australia’s lot feed cattle capacity. RFF will also enter into a lease for a 10-year term, while JBS also has the option to buy the feedlots back. On top of that, RFF will provide a $75 million limited guarantee to J&F Australia, which currently buys cattle for JBS Feedlots. And, subject to unitholder approval, J&F will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the RFF’s manager and responsible entity, RFM. Shares in Rural Funds Group (ASX:RFF) last traded at $2.07.

a2 Milk Company (ASX:A2M) advised its group revenue for the financial year (ending 30 June 2018) hit NZ$922 million, a 68 per cent jump compared the prior corresponding period and for FY19 sales and EBITA, they should be broadly in line with expectations. It comes despite the company flagging higher costs from the CEO transition, to increasing staff in China and the corporate office. Shares in the a2 Milk Company (ASX:A2M) are trading 2.4 per cent lower at $10.56.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is healthcare adding 2.6 per cent while the worst performing sector is energy, shedding 1.4 per cent

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX:SHL), rising 5.7 per cent to $26.54, followed by shares in Afterpay Touch Group Limited (ASX:APT) and Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX:SKI), dropping 3.1 per cent to $2.18, followed by shares in Beach Energy Limited (ASX:BPT) and Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG).

Asian markets

Higher: Japan’s Nikkei has added 1.12 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.05 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.7 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,244 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.70 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading mixed. Bitcoin has fallen 0.8 per cent to US$6,354, Ethereum has gained about 0.3 per cent to US$442 and EOS is about 4 per cent lower at US$7.02