The Australian share market is on track for its third day of gains and is trading at a new four-month high, with over half of the major sectors posting gains.
We didn’t have any leads to follow as Wall Street was closed overnight for Washington’s birthday. But plenty of local earnings results have been released and have been boosting the market, with IOOF (ASX:IFL) reporting its earnings and its shares have gained over 7 per cent, hitting a new two month high.
Magellan (ASX:MFG), Computershare (ASX:CPU) and IPH (ASX:IPH) are also going ex-dividend today
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 22 points or 0.4 per cent at 6,112. On the futures market the SPI is 16 points higher.
Citi has further downgraded AMP (ASX:AMP) dropping its 12-month price target from $2.35 to $2.30 after Citi dropped its earnings per share and earnings estimates for FY19, FY20 and FY21 on the back of AMP allowing for the impact of the ‘Protecting your Super Bill’, which was passed through both houses, yesterday 18 February 2019. The Protect Your Super Bill amends the Superannuation Industry Act (SIS Act) 1993 and the bill aims to prevent super funds from charging fees and costs over 3 per cent when a super balance is below $6,000 and it also allows inactive super funds (inactive for a continuous period of 13 months) to be rolled over into an active account. Year-on-year, AMP shares have fallen 58 per cent.
Local economic news
Chinese travellers to Australia overtook New Zealand, as the leading source of visitors to Australia in 2018, according to new data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
RBA board minutes were released from 5 February meeting, where the RBA kept rates on hold for a record 27 times.
Heavy earthmoving equipment company, Emeco (ASX:EHL) has reported a minor slip (a fall of 0.3 per cent) in its first-half statutory net profit after tax (NPAT) to $11.9 million. Its operating NPAT grew 160 per cent on 1H18 to $32 million. Its statutory EBIT grew 21 per cent on 1H18 to $52 million, and its revenue climbed 171 per cent to $224.3 million on the back of bolstered coal mining customer demand and its Force Equipment and Matilda Equipment earrings. Shares in Emeco (ASX:EHL) are trading 16.4 per cent lower at $2.35 at noon. Year on year its trading 13 per cent lower.
Oil and gas exploration and production company Senex Energy (ASX:SXY) reported a 95 per cent improvement on its statutory net loss after tax for 1H FY19 to 4.5 million, compared to the FY18 1H of loss of $82.3 million. It bolstered its EBITDA from $6.8 to $7.3 million and its sales revenue grew 44 per cent in $43 million. Shares in Senex Energy (ASX:SXY) are trading 1.4 per cent lower at $0.36 at noon. Year-on-year its trading 0.7 per cent lower.
Confectionary retail company, Candy Club Holdings (ASX:CLB) started trading today. It floated with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.20, and its trading at $0.20,
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is S&P/ASX Financials adding 0.9 per cent, while the worst performing sector is S&P/ASX Consumer Staples, shedding 1.2 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Altium Limited (ASX:ALU), rising 21 per cent to $32.81, followed by shares in IOOF Holdings Limited (ASX:IFL) and Aveo Group (ASX:AOG).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Blackmores Limited (ASX:BKL), dropping 23.1 per cent to $95.06, followed by shares in Emeco Holdings Limited (ASX:EHL) and Seven West Media Limited (ASX:SWM).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,326 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 0.2 per cent to US$88.32 and is trading near 3-year highs.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.8 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.18 US cents.