The Australian share market has built on from a loss at the open to rise 0.3 per cent at noon. The financial sector helped strengthen the market with Suncorp (ASX:SUN) and Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG) some of the best performers. The consumer discretionary sector is leading the way with the utilities sector trailing behind. Iron ore price rose 0.5 per cent to US$69.78 and its futures are pointing to a loss of 0.7 per cent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 17 points up or 0.3 per cent higher at 6286. On the futures market the SPI is 13 points higher.
Suncorp (ASX:SUN) advised its net profit after tax slipped 1.5 per cent on the 2017 financial, with its profit hitting $1.06 billion in FY18. It also declared a fully franked special dividend of 8 cents per share (cps) and total ordinary dividends of 73 cps full franked. Suncorp also confirmed its key FY19 financial target of achieving a 10 per cent return on equity (ROE). The market seems to like their results, with the likes of UBS saying that Suncorp beat their estimates by 2 per cent. Suncorp (ASX:SUN) is trading 5 per cent higher $15.74
WorleyParsons (ASX:WOR) has been awarded an engineering, procurement and construction contract with Nexen Petroleum UK, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNOOC. Under the contract, WorleyParsons will provide services for Nexen’s Buzzard Phase II development project. The services will be executed by WorleyParsons’ UK Integrated Solutions Aberdeen office. Rosenberg WorleyParsons, based in Norway, will fabricate the topsides module. Shares in Worley Parsons X are trading down 0.3 per cent at $18.79
Cooper Investors have increased their interest in Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA) and now hold a relevant interest (including shares held in nominee companies) of 8.43 per cent in shares.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is consumer discretionary adding 1.3 per cent to while the worst performing sector is utlilties shedding 1.7 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Magellan (ASX:MFG), rising 13.3 per cent to $27.36, followed by shares in The Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR) and Suncorp (ASX:SUN).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Eclipx (ASX:ECX), dropping 6.3 per cent to $1.86, followed by shares in Orora (ASX:ORA) and AGL Energy (ASX:AGL).
Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.2 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,213 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 74.22 US cents.
Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading lower. Bitcoin has fallen 4.4 per cent to US$6345, Ethereum fallen about 5.1 per cent to US$360 and EOS 12.1 per cent lower to $5.69.