Wage growth below expectations: ASX tracking 0.2% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market opened lower it is now tracking 0.2 per cent lower at noon. The a2 Milk company (ASX:A2M) saw their shares rise as they reported net profit, earnings and revenue for the half year all higher compared to the last corresponding period. Net profit rose 55 per cent to $153 million. Seven Group Holdings (ASX:SVN) are on the up as they saw revenue and profitability both higher compared to the year earlier period in their half year results for FY19. Macmillian Group (ASX:MMS) took a fall today after they released their half year results showing EBITDA and NPAT was down. The Pact Group (ASX:PGH) also took a dip as well as Wistech Global (ASX:WTC) and Crown Casinos (ASX:CWN)- all also reported their results today. Materials topped the best performing sector list today meanwhile consumer staples came out at the bottom. The S&P/ASX 200 index is 12 points lower at 6095. On the futures market the SPI is 12 points lower.

Economic News

The seasonally adjusted Wage Price Index rose 0.5 per cent in December quarter 2018, slightly less that what was expected, and 2.3 per cent through the year, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Annually, private sector wages rose 2.3 per cent and public sector wages grew 2.5 per cent.

Company news

Domino's Pizza (ASX:DMP) reported a net profit of $53.3 million for the six months to December 30, compared to $58.7 million a year earlier.This fell short of Citi's predictions of $72 million for the half year. Global food sales lifted 14.6 per cent to $1.43 billion for the Half Year ending 30 December 2018, driving a 12.1 per cent lift in EBIT to $108.3 million.Domino's paid $10.9 million in one-off legal and settlement costs in Australian and New Zealand, as well as $12.6 million to convert Germany's Hallo Pizza and Pizza Spirit in France to Domino's-branded stores.Shares in Domino's Pizza (ASX:DMP) are trading 5.6 per cent lower to $43.35

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) has reported a 5 per cent dip in half-year profit, but shares are at a two year high as the iron ore price increased. Net profit for the six months to December 31 came in at $US644 million, down from $US681 million a year ago. This easily beat Citi's estimate of US$485 million. Revenue is down 4 per cent to US$3,540 million from US$3,679million for the same corresponding period. Shareholders are set for 19 cents per share interim dividend, up from 11 cents per share last year, as well as special dividend of 11 cents per share. Shares in Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) are trading 5.4 per cent higher to $6.69.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Materials, adding 1.5 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Consumer Staples, shedding 2.3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Emeco Holdings (ASX:EHL), rising 13.6 per cent to $2.42, followed by shares in Seven Group Holdings (ASX:SVW) and Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is McMillan Shakespeare (ASX:MMS), dropping 18.2 per cent to $11.91, followed by shares in Wisetech Global (ASX:WTC) and Eclipx (ASX:ECX).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,341 an ounce.
The iron ore price is $89.21, up 1.0 per cent.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a loss of 1.5 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.61 US cents.