Eclipx merger lifts shares 16%: Aus shares close 0.5% higher

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market gained 0.5 per cent today, continuing its 10-day uptrend. Most of the sectors gained with Staples, Healthcare and Financials gaining 1 per cent or more. But the smaller tech sector gained the most, 2.6 per cent.

Domino’s Pizza Enterprises (ASX:DMP) was downgraded by Citi to a sell on the back of the firm seeing a soft start in FY19. Citi’s 12-month price target is $45.20. It lost 11 per cent.

James Hardie (ASX:JHX) ended lower today after the company advised its net operating profit after tax should be between US$280 million and US$320 million, lower than what analysts forecast for the year ending 31 March 2019.

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 31 points higher at 5,928.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 14 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a dip of 4 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing fall of 18 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a 13 point rise tomorrow morning

Company news

Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX) and McMillian Shakespeare (ASX:MMS) announced plans to merge via a scrip and cash offer for 0.1414 MMS shares and $0.46 cash for Eclipx shares, implying a total value of $911 million (at $2.85 per Eclipx share (based on MMS’ price of $16.90 on Wednesday 7 November 2018)). It will create a leading Australian and New Zealand salary packing and fleet management company. Within three years the combined group should make about $50 million per year in EBITDA. Shares in Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX) closed 16.1 per cent higher at $2.67.

Afterpay Touch Group (ASX:APT) advised less than 6 months from launching in the US, it’s clocked up 300,000 consumers and over 900 retailers in the US and over 1,300 additional retailers having signed agreements with Afterpay or are in the process of integrating on our platform. It gained 11.1 per cent.

BHP (ASX:BHP) won a bid to buy and operate two exploration licences at two blocks in the offshore Orphan Basin in Eastern Canada. BHP bid US$625 million, covering the drilling and seismic work required by the exploration work programs, under the licence agreements over the six-year term. It closed 0.2 per cent lower.

Travel agency services firm, Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) slammed its short seller VGI Partners, saying it has a fundamental misunderstanding of the corporate travel sector and of CTD’s business model. It comes as the company responded to the second VGI report, which is ‘biased towards its short position in the company’. CTM tasked EY to look at the second damming report, but EY says its report is 'superficial'. Its shares bounced back from the last two days of selling but it still has not recovered from its 22 per cent slide on last Wednesday (October 31). It gained 15 per cent today. 

REA Group (ASX:REA) shares have charged up 8 per cent, hitting month-and-a-half high, after it announced its revenue rose 17 per cent in the September quarter, compared to the same time last year. Its EBITDA (earnings) rose 23 per cent to $131 million.

IPOs

Golden State Mining (ASX:GSM) started trading today. The mineral capital provider floated with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.17 and it closed at $0.18

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was S&P/ASX Health Care adding 1.2 per cent while the worst performing sector was S&P/ASX Utilities, shedding 4.5 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX), rising 16.1 per cent to close at $2.67. Shares in Corporate Travel Management Limited (ASX:CTD) and Afterpay Touch Group Limited (ASX APT) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was James Hardie Industries Plc (ASX DMP), dropping 14.7 per cent to close at $16.90. Shares in Domino's Pizza Enterprises Limited (ASX:DMP) and APA Group (ASX:APA) followed lower.

Asian markets

Higher: Japan’s Nikkei has added 1.9 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.6 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,224 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 0.6 per cent to US$75.27. Its futures are pointing to a rise of 0.5 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.62 lower at US$61.59 barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.85 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has shed 0.8 per cent to US$6,480, Ethereum has fallen 2.1 per cent to US$214 and Bitcoin Cash has lost 4.8 per cent to US$588, in the last 24 hours.