Orocobre and Afterpay shine: Aus shares 0.5% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market is looking to close the week a profit, after rising for the fourth straight day, clocking up 5.8 per cent in January alone.

All sectors are charging forth today, with the smaller tech sector up the most, after Afterpay Touch Group (ASX: APT) shot up 11.3 per cent on a record month, with total sales in 1H FY19 over $2.2 billion, a 240 per cent jump on the same time last year.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.5 per cent or 32 points higher at 5,862 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is 36 points higher.

Broker calls 

Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) had its buy rating maintained by Citi with a price target of $5.90, with the multinational bank saying the coal major is set for a turnaround in the second half. Citi says WHC’s expected total return is 32.3 per cent. At noon Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) is trading 1.1 per cent higher.

Local economic news

Less short term tourists came to Australia in November than expected, with short term arrivals being steady in November, compared to October.

Company news

Orocobre (ASX:ORE) has appointed a new managing director, Martín Pérez de Solay, after Richard Seville retired, after being with the lithium play for 12 years. Martín has also formally started CEO duties. Meantime, Citi, the multinational bank says ORE’s December quarter numbers beat Citi’s estimates by 2 per cent. It comes as yesterday ORE advised its production rose 65 per cent quarter on quarter in December, a strong recovery from weather impacts in the September quarter. However, Citi cut its EPS estimates for ORE by 9 per cent for FY19/20 on the back of lower prices for lithium carbonate (at an industry level). Citi has the stock as a buy at a price target of $5.90. Orocobre (ASX:ORE) shares are trading 3.4 per cent higher at $3.36 at noon.

The Australasian brand manager for Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Pierre Cardin brands, Gazal Corporation (ASX:GZL) is now expecting better than expected earnings for its PVH Brands Australia joint venture. It’s now expecting its EBITDA for the full year (ending 2 February 2019) will be in the range of $29 to $31 million. That’s a rise of about $11 million compared to last year’s EBITDA of $19.8 million. Shares in Gazal Corporation (ASX:GZL) are trading 18.1 per cent higher at $4.25 at noon.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector (out of the major sectors) is Healthcare adding 0.8 per cent, while the worst performing sector is REITs, gaining slightly, 0.03 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Afterpay Touch Group Limited (ASX:APT), rising 11.7 per cent to $15.91, followed by shares in Sims Metal Management Limited (ASX:SGM) and Appen Limited (ASX: APX).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Southern Cross Media Group Limited (ASX:SXL), dropping 3.4 per cent to $1.00, followed by shares in Steadfast Group Limited (ASX:SDF) and Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,292 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 0.3 per cent to US$74.55
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.8 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.90 US cents.