House prices won't 'derail' economy - RBA: ASX tracking 0.5% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market now tracking 0.5% higher at noon. 14 companies were reporting today. Shares in pharmaceutical company Mayne Pharma Group (ASX:MYX) saw a rise after they released their half year results today showing underlying net profit after tax up 35 per cent to $21.1 million from the prior corresponding period. Funeral company Invocare (ASX:IVC) are also on the up despite profits for the half year sliding due to fewer deaths. Travel company Webjet (ASXC:WEB) has seen their shares rise over 10 per cent today after reporting their net profit after tax (NPAT) was up 61 per cent to $38.3 million for the first half of FY19 yesterday. Their company WebBeds’s EBITDA more than doubled year-on-year. Real Estate Investment Trusts topped the sector list today with Energy at the bottom.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 28 points up at 6167. On the futures market the SPI is 32 points higher.

Broker Moves

Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) has been downgraded by Citi to a sell, with its 12-month price target dropping from $29.40 to $29.00. Citi says Wesfarmers is now reliant on Bunnings and Kmart for growth, with both being 'mature, low-growth businesses', that are facing cyclically headwinds. Meantime, UBS downgraded Wesfarmers as well, from a hold/neutral to a sell, with a 12-month price target of $32.60

Economic News

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe gave his testimony to parliament today saying declining house prices in Sydney and Melbourne, aren't all bad news.
He says the cooling prices are not expected to derail Australia's economy. He said in December there was a lot of anxiety - noting the falling sharemarket, the IMF with weaker growth forecasts, and house prices continued falling. He said this all had a negative effect on confidence.

Company news

Automotive Holdings Group (ASX:AHG) saw NPAT for the six months to 31 December 2018 of $24.2 million - nearly half that recorded in 1H18. The company recorded group revenue of $3.22 billion which was marginally higher on $3.17 billion in the prior corresponding period. EBITDA down 16 per cent on the last half to $93.4 million. The Board will not declare a dividend for six months to 31 December 2018 to allow the Company to reinvest in the balance sheet and build long term shareholder value. Shares in Automotive Holdings Group (ASX:AHG) trading 7.4 per cent higher to $1.89

The CEO of Village Roadshow (ASX:VRL) Graham Burke AO has decided to retire at the end of calendar year 2019. He will remain in his role until the end of 2019 to ensure a smooth succession. Graham Burke started work for Roc Kirby, Village Roadshow’s founder, at the age of 14 as a ticket collector and floor sweeper at Town Hall Pictures, Ararat in Victoria.Upon the appointment of a new CEO, he will remain on the VRL Board as a Non-Executive Director. Shares in Village Roadshow (ASX:VRL) tading 3.4 per cent higher to $3.34.

IPO

Mediland Pharm (ASX:MPH) started trading today. The health and well-being provider provider floated with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.25 and its trading at $0.23.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trusts, adding 1.4 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Energy, shedding 1.5 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Webjet (ASX:WEB), rising 9.4 per cent to $16.25, followed by shares in Invocare (ASX:IVC) and Automotive Holdings Group (ASX:AHG).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR), dropping 5.6 per cent to $2.68, followed by shares in Mayne Pharma Group (ASX:MYX) and CYBG (ASX:CYB).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,326 an ounce.
The iron ore price is $86.68 that's down 1.5 per cent.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 1.4 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.04 US cents.