Banks on the rise: The ASX is 1.1% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market is still trading higher this morning, as major banks saw rises - Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) was leading the way. Australia Pot stocks are soaring as Canada is legalising recreational cannabis today – the first major economy to do so. Bellamy's (ASX:BAL) Australia is up as is Blackmores (ASX:BKL) and a2 Milk (ASX:A2M). BlueScope Steel (ASX:BSL) was weighing, though as was St Barbara (ASX:SBM). The healthcare sector is leading the way and the Materials sector trailing behind. The S&P/ASX 200 index is 66 points up that's up 1.1 per cent higher at 5936. On the futures market the SPI is 58 points higher at 5912.

Local economic news

The six month annualised growth rate in the Westpac–Melbourne Institute Lending Index, lifted from –0.02 per cent in August to +0.21 per cent in September. Despite a lift back above trend this month, the Index growth rate continues to point to slowing momentum heading into year end.

Company news

The A2 Milk Company (ASX:A2M) noted its a2Milk brand now has over 10 per cent market share in Australian and New Zealand brand, while China infant formula consumption has increased from 5.1 per cent to 5.6 per cent from June to September. These are just some of the milestones it noted in its Q1 update while it attended Citi’s annual Australian and NZ investment conference. It also maintained its outlook and sales guidance, also noting its FY18 EBITDA sales will be ‘broadly consistent with FY18’. Shares in the a2 Milk Company (ASX:A2M) are trading 7.64 per cent higher at $9.72 at noon.

Hotel Property Investments (ASX:HPI) have stated that Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer David Charles has indicated his desire to retire by the end of November this year. Today the board appointed Donald Smith as Managing Director of the company. Shares in Hotel Property Investments (ASX:HPI) flat at $3.07.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Healthcare adding 2.1 per cent, while the worst performing Materials sector is shedding 0.4 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Bellamy's Australia (ASX:BAL), rising 9.4 per cent to $8.93, followed by shares in Blackmore's (ASX:BKL) and The a2Milk Company (ASX:A2M).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is St Barbara (ASX:SBM), dropping 3.1 per cent to $3.87, followed by shares in Regis Resources (ASX:RRI) and Bluescope (ASX:BSL).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1224 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 0.2 per cent to US$71.50 and its futures are pointing to a fall of 0.1per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.41 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading higher. Bitcoin has gained 0.2 per cent to US$6598, Ethereum gained about 0.8 per cent to US$210 and XRP has gained about 5.1 per cent to US$0.47.