The Australia share market has continued its bullish upward trend this year and gained about 0.3 per cent, leaving the ASX200 about 4 per cent higher this year. A good start to the year, given the market lost about 7 per cent in 2018.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 15 points higher at 5,790. On the futures market the SPI is 3 points higher.
No economic news today, however Citi advised that financings by junior and intermediate miners rebounded in December, following two consecutive months of declines. The increase in financing was based on value and volume.
One of the most popular stocks today to buy today is Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) which announced a $2.1 to $2.3 billion gain of the demerger of Coles. Meantime, its 2019 half-year sales for Kmart rose 1 per cent in the, while total sales rose 0.2 per cent for Target. Meantime Wesfarmers trades 2.6 per cent lower at noon.
Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) has responded to the Australian Financial Review’s story about the potential $100 million sale of Crust Gourmet Pizzas, saying, it is ‘seeking to reduce its debt by various means, including the investigation of the possible sale of assets’, but no agreements have been reached. Plus, RFG says the amount quoted for Crust’s potential sale, far exceeds its expectations. Shares in Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) are trading 11.9 per cent higher at $0.33 at noon.
BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) announced its currency conversion rates that will be applied to its dividend of 102 US cents per share. The currency rates are based on the record date of 11 January 2019. The Australian denominated dividend works out to be $1.41 per share, with dividends to be paid on 30 January 2019. Shares in BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) are trading 0.2 per cent higher at $32.86 at noon.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Telcos adding 1.5 per cent, following is Staples, with Costa Group up the most after its shares fell 40 per cent after giving a profit warning on 10 January.
The worst performing sector is Consumer Discretionary, shedding 1.2 per cent. Followed by Energy, and Healthcare.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Costa Group Holdings Limited (ASX:CGC), rising 4.3 per cent to $4.84, followed by shares in Seven West Media Limited (ASX:SWM) and Perpetual Limited (ASX:PPT).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Bluescope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL), dropping 3.9 per cent to $11.70 followed by shares in Whitehaven Coal Limited (ASX:WHC) and Wisetech Global Limited (ASX:WTC).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,290 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 0.1 per cent to US$73.45
Iron ore futures are steady.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.11 US cents.