Snaps 5-day losing streak: Aus shares 0.2% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian stock market has snapped its five-day losing streak, after we saw a sharp sell-off yesterday, with the ASX200 reversing 2.8 per cent. From the get-go we had positive leads with Wall street clawing back from Wednesday’s sell-off.

Locally, we’re seeing gains in half of the sectors today with the smaller Tech sector leading the rally following the resurgence of tech stocks on Wall Street. As for the major sectors, Healthcare, Financials, and Materials are leading our rally. 

Broker moves

AMP (ASX:AMP) has been upgraded to high-risk buy by Citi, with the firm saying if AMP does return $1 billion in cash proceeds via a share buyback at the current price, it would add 10 per cent to FY20’s estimated EPS and that implies the stocks will trade higher. However, following AMP’s portfolio review it cut AMP’s EPS FY18 earnings by 1 per cent, FY19’s earnings by 18 and FY20’s by 30 per cent. 

The S&P/ASX 200 index

14 points higher or 0.2 per cent higher at 5,678 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is 28 points higher.

Company news

The PAS Group (ASX:PGR) announced its MD and CEO Eric Morris will retire in FY2018 and will be succeeded by Paul Burdekin. Meantime, Paul Burdekin has also been appointed as chief commercial officer and will transition into the head seats (MD and CEO) by July 2019. Paul Burdekin was most recently general manager of Billabong International’s (ASX:BBG) Asia Pacific region. The company came onto the market in 2014 at $0.95 and it last traded at $0.29.

Gold mining company St Barbara (ASX:SBM) has purchased forward gold contracts at AUD$1,809 per ounce to protect the firm against movements in the gold price from January to December 2020. With the gold price currently hovering around US$1,233, St Barbara says the contracts provide a reliable cash margin on a portfolio of its Simberi’s gold production from FY20 to FY21. Shares in St Barbara (ASX:SBM) are trading 1.2 per cent higher at $4.34 at noon.

Ahead of IOOF Holdings’ (ASX:IFL) AGM on 28 November, it has sent investors its annual report. However, just yesterday it advised net inflows into its platform, advice division and into investment management fell in the September quarter, compared to the prior corresponding period. Meantime, Citi has the stock as a buy, with a price target of $10.90 (12-months), noting the group hit record flows in funds under management and advice, well above Citi’s prior forecast. Shares in IOOF Holdings (ASX:IFL) are trading 4.2 per cent lower at $7.04 at noon.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is materials adding 0.8 per cent, while the worst performing sector is utilities, shedding 1.4 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC), rising 6.5 per cent to $1.81, followed by shares in Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) and Resmed Inc (ASX:RMD).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX:NST), dropping 4.9 per cent to $8.88, followed by shares in IOOF Holdings Limited (ASX:IFL) and G8 Education Limited (ASX:GEM).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,231 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.8 per cent to US$76.04 and its futures are pointing to a rise of 0.3 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.71 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has fallen 0.2 per cent to US$6,473 Ethereum has lost 0.2 per cent to US$203 and EOS has gone the other way, adding 0.2 per cent to US$5.88.