Business conditions fell 3 points in Feb: ASX tracking 0.4% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market rose after the open and is now tracking 0.4 per cent at noon. Resources engineering company WorleyParsons (ASX:WOR) recovered after yesterdays dip with a 3 per cent rise this morning. Logistics software company Wisetech Global (ASX:WTC) saw a rise in their shares of over 5 per cent. The Energy sector topped the index today with consumer discretionary not faring so well. Artificial intelligence firm Appen (ASX:APP) saw their shares drop today after yesterday announcing they are seeking to raise $300 million to fund the acquisition of US company Figure Eight. The total bill for the company could reach $426 million.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 22 points up at 6,202. On the futures market the SPI is 14 points higher.

Local economic news

NAB's monthly business survey found business conditions fell by 3 points to +4 index points in February, driven by declines in profitability and trading sub-indexes. Employment was unchanged at +5. Confidence fell 2 points in the month to +2 index points. There was no improvement in retail conditions.

January key points from the Australian Bureau of statistics shows the trend estimate for total dwelling units approved fell 3.2% in January.

The value of new lending commitments to households fell 2.4 per cent in January 2019, seasonally adjusted.

And the number of secondary jobs in Australia rose to more than one million in the December quarter of 2018, according to new labour market insights released today.This represented more than 7 per cent of all jobs worked in the economy, the highest rate recorded since this series began in 2010.

Company news

National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) has lost another executive today. Chief People Officer, Lorraine Murphy has decided to leave the organisation. She joined NAB in March 2016. Julie Rynski, currently Customer Executive Regional and Agribusiness, will assume the role while a global search is undertaken for a permanent replacement. NAB Group Chief Executive Officer, Philip Chronican, said she had led the People function through a challenging period and brought a useful external perspective on changing bank culture. Shares in National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) are trading 0.04 per cent lower to $25.36.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy, adding 1.3 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Consumer Discretionary, shedding 0.1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Wisetech Global (ASX:WTC), rising 5.56 per cent to $21.09, followed by shares in CYBG (ASX:CYB) and IOOF Holdings (ASX:IFL).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Appen (ASX:APX), dropping 8.04 per cent to $22.41, followed by shares in Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) and Perpetual (ASX:PPT).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,294 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 2.3 per cent to US$83.79
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.1 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.67 US cents.