The Australian share market opened higher on the back of positive leads from Wall Street on Friday, with investors hopeful a China-US trade deal will be struck.
Coupled with that about a dozen companies are reporting today and the market has been buoyed by a lift from local companies reporting. The likes of buy now pay later company, Afterpay (ASX:APT) shares are trading near its all-time highs or where it it last traded on 28 August 2018, while its competitor, Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) is following.
Aside from the smaller tech sector, half of the major sectors are trading higher with Healthcare, Materials and Financials following, taking the XJO (S&P/ASX 200 index) 0.3 per cent higher at noon, to a new four-month high after it has gained for the third straight session.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.2 per cent or 13 points higher at 6,180 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is 18 points higher.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence company, Appen (ASX:APX) reported a 192 per cent jump in its attributable profit for the year ending 31 December 2018 to $41.7 million, while its revenues (from ordinary activities) grew 119 per cent over the period to $364.3 million. [Citi expected Appen's profit would be $38.3 million]. It declared an interim dividend of 4 cent per share, fully franked. Shares in Appen (ASX:APX) are trading 18.3 per cent higher at $22.26 at noon, year-on-year its shares have gained 112 per cent.
Afterpay Touch Group (ASX:APT) has advised there is not likely to be a material impact on its business or its business model from the Inquiry into the buy now pay later sector. However, the Senate Economics References Committee highlighted the need for a separate regulatory framework outside of the traditional credit model. The committee recommends the government consider, in consultation with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), that the regulation allow for consumers’ personal financial situations to considered before they are given credit. Afterpay also advised it has an industry leading default rate, of under 1.5 per cent. Shares in Afterpay Touch Group (ASX:APT) are trading 15.6 per cent higher at $19.88 at noon, and year-on-year its shares have gained 175 per cent. Afterpay is due to release its results tomorrow.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Healthcare adding 0.8 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trusts, shedding 0.7 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Appen Limited (ASX:APX), rising 18.3 per cent to $22.26, followed by shares in Afterpay Touch Group (ASX:APT) and Automotive Holdings Group (ASX:AHG).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is G8 Education (ASX:GEM), dropping 11.9 per cent to $3.20, followed by shares in Ooh!Media (ASX:OML) and Reliance Worldwide Corporation (ASX:RWC).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,330 an ounce.
Iron ore price last traded at to US$86.65
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 2.1 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.58 US cents.