Resilient rise despite terror event in NZ: Aus shares 0.3% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

Local share market traders and investors have started the week in business as usual mode, despite a terror attack in New Zealand which claimed the lives of 50 people.

The Australian dollar has remained largely steady and most of our sectors are in positive territory today with miners leading.

From the outset, we had positive US leads from Friday’s session in the US on reports US-China trade talks are going well. The Nasdaq rose the most [0.8 per cent] followed by the S&P 500 [which rose 0.5 per cent] which closed off its best week since November.

No economic news to look out for today, however, the RBA will release its minutes tomorrow, from its last board meeting, with investors to eye any hint of when a potential rate cut may be, after UBS says rates may or may not be cut in May.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 21 points or 0.3 per cent higher at 6,196. On the futures market the SPI is 32 points higher.

Company news

In the heat for MYOB (ASX:MYO) being potentially taken over by KKR for $2 billion (valuing MYOB at $3.40 per share), hedge fund, Manikay Partners LLC has increased its holding in the tax, accounting and software business to about 14 per cent. Citi has stock as a neutral or hold, as the Federal Court of Australia has approved MYOB shareholders to vote on the proposed takeover. Citi expects the takeover to be implemented by May 8. Shares in MYOB (ASX:MYO) are trading 0.2 per cent lower at $3.35 at noon.

Multinational salary packaging firm McMillan Shakespeare (ASX:MMS) says it will now consider its position, in potentially purchasing Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX), as the takeover target and sales financing company has entered into a voluntary trading halt. McMillan Shakespeare (ASX:MMS) says it reserves all rights and will update the market when appropriate. Eclipx Group will remain in a trading halt until trade resumes on Wednesday 20 March, or until it has made an announcement. Eclipx Group is also expecting single-digit growth in FY19 net profit after tax and before amortisation (NPATA) compared to FY18’s full-year results to 30 September. Shares in (ASX:MMS) are trading 2.1 per cent lower at $12.66 at noon.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is S&P/ASX Materials, adding 1.1 per cent, while the worst performing sector is S&P/ASX Telco Services, shedding 0.5 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX:FMG), rising 3.4 per cent to $6.70, followed by shares in Nanosonics Limited (ASX:NAN) and Wisetech Global Limited (ASX:WTC).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is REA Group Ltd (ASX:REA), dropping 4.03 per cent to $76.28, followed by shares in Hub24 Limited (ASX:HUB) and Vocus Group Limited (ASX:VOC).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,299 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 0.8 per cent to US$86.52
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.8 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.86 US cents.

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