The Australian share market opened slightly higher this morning and progressed well in early trading staying above 6000. It's now tracking 0.3 per cent lower at noon. News corp (ASX:NWS) shares dipped today as did Spark Infrastructure (ASX:SKI) following a Federal Court decision on tax litigation and asset impairment. Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) is down after reports they are to lose millions of dollars in earnings due to the impact of extreme weather in Queensland. JB Hi-Fi's (ASX:JBH) shares are trading up after it revealed a full-year profit forecast ahead of market expectations. Two companies in the health sector are on the rise today Estia Health (ASX:EHE) and Sigma healthcare (ASX:SIG). Meanwhile, the materials sector is leading the way and the Financials sector trailing behind as the big four banks are all down. The S&P/ASX 200 index is 18 points down at 6054. On the futures market the SPI is 18 points lower.
Local economic news
Building approvals from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the trend estimate for total dwellings approved fell 4.1 per cent in December. The seasonally adjusted estimate for total dwellings approved fell 8.4 per cent in December.
Manufacturing company Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) is set to lose approximately $10 million in earnings a week due to the closure of the rail line between Townsville and Phosphate Hill in Queensland after a one in a hundred year rain event. They began a progressive shutdown of plants within its Phosphate Hill facility over the weekend and is continuing to run each plant for as long as possible given storage and input constraints. The plant has not sustained any damage - the Townsville fertiliser distribution and port facilities suffered only very minor damage and are operational. IPL will provide an update when it receives a reliable estimate of the duration of the rail outage. Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) is an international company that manufactures , markets and distributes a range of industrial chemicals, fertilisers and explosives. Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) are trading 2.9 per cent lower at $3.28 at noon.
Spark Infrastructure (ASX:SKI) has seen their shares dip after a Federal Court ruling relating to tax payable by Spark's Victoria Power Networks business from 2008 to 2011. Due to these various changes, SA Power Networks’ future recoverable amount has been determined to be less than its carrying value. Consequently, Spark Infrastructure expects to recognise a net impairment charge of its investment in SA Power Networks of $270 million in its FY2018 results to be released on 26 February 2019. Spark Infrastructure and Victorian Power Networks are reviewing the judgement. Shares in Spark Infrastructure (ASX:SKI) trading 5.98 per cent lower to $2.36
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is materials adding 1.3 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Financials, shedding 1.3 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Sigma healthcare (ASX:SIG) rising 4.5 per cent to $0.58, followed by shares in Estia Health (ASX:EHE), and Alumina (ASX:AWC).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX:SKI) dropping 5.98 per cent to $2.36, followed by shares in News Corp (ASX:NWS), and Bluescope Steel (ASX:BSL).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,314 an ounce.
Iron ore price is US$85.53
One Australian dollar is buying 71.02 US cents.