Heavyweights rise despite iron ore fall: Aus shares flat at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market breathed a sigh of relief earlier in the session, rising at the open after Wall Street saw its best day in over 2 weeks, with General Motors rising 4 per cent after announcing plans to reduce its salaried workforce by 15 per cent. Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet rose at least 1 per cent which saw the Nasdaq rise 2.1 per cent.

So it's no surprise our smaller tech sector is leading today, rising 2.2 per cent at earlier in the session, with Afterpay (ASX:APT) rising 2.57 per cent. 

The oil price rebounded to US$51.60, which is seeing the Energy sector bounce back.

And the mining sector is making moderate gains, with lithium stocks up the most, while the mining heavyweights like BHP (ASX:BHP) are mustering up 0.5 per cent, despite the iron ore falling 8.4 per cent with China’s steel prices falling 5 per cent on fears of weaker demand over winter. Speaking about BHP though, over the year, its share are up 9.7 per cent.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.02 per cent lower or 1 point lower at 5,671 points. On the futures market the SPI is 1 point higher.

Company news

Australia’s largest brick producer Brickworks (ASX:BKW) advised its property division is set to make a record contribution to the business in 2019 on the back of new developments at its NSW Oakdale estate and settlement of its previously announced Punchbowl property. The earnings from its $151 million purchase of the leading US brick manufacturer, Glen-Gery will also underpin its FY2019 results. A fully franked final dividend of 36 cents per share is payable to shareholders tomorrow, taking its full-year dividend to 54 cents. That's a 6 per cent rise on the prior year. Brickworks has paid a dividend ever since listing, 1962. Washington H. Soul Patts owns 43 per cent of the company. Brickworks (ASX:BKW) shares are trading 4.3 per cent higher at $15.64 at noon. Year-on-year its shares are up 15.5 per cent.

A private consortium of investors, NSW Ports, are set to inject $120 million into Port Botany rail over the next four years, which is significant for Qube Holdings (ASX:QUB) who are the largest listed port company in Australia and own a 50 per cent holding in Patrick Terminals, Australia’s leading container terminal operator. Shares in Qube Holdings (ASX:QUB) are trading 0.2 per cent lower at $2.64 at noon. Year-on-year its shares are up 2.5 per cent.

IPOs

Listed investment trust, which invests in secured real estate loans, Qualitas (ASX:QRI) started trading today. They were looking to raise $500 million. It floated with an issue price of $1.60, opened at $1.65 and its trading at $1.68. For more information, about the company, check out our website for an interview with MD of Real Estate Finance.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Energy adding/losing 0.5 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trusts, shedding 0.9 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Appen Limited (ASX:APX), rising 8.2 per cent to $13.72, followed by shares in Ooh!Media Limited (ASX:OML) and CYBG PLC (ASX:CYB).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Blackmores Limited (ASX:BKL), dropping 2.9 per cent to $123.10, followed by shares in Bluescope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL) and Primary Health Care Limited (ASX:PRY).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,224 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 8.4 per cent to US$64.25 and its futures are pointing to a fall of 2 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.21 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has fallen 6.4 per cent to US$3,770, Ethereum has fallen about 7.5 per cent to US$108 and XRP has fallen about 7.5 per cent to US$0.35 in the last 24 hours.