Budget boost, ASX hits 8-month high: Aus shares 0.5% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Anna Napoli

The Australian share market continued its seven-day rally after the Budget was handed down last night and has now hit an eight month high. The local bourse soared in the second hour of trade, pushing past its six months highs as miners extend their gains on the back of stronger iron ore prices. Meantime three of the four major banks are back in the green. Four top 200 companies today are seeing gains of around 4 per cent.

Smart Group has dropped around 8 per cent after Managing Director Deven Billimoria sold 1.1 million shares.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 34 points up or 0.5 per cent higher at 6,276. On the futures market the SPI is 37 points higher.

Economic news

Retail sales surged 0.8 per cent in February according to fresh stats from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), beating consensus estimates of a 0.2 per cent rise. The massive February growth follows a soft lift of 0.1 per cent in sales in January. It comes as department store sales rose 3.5 per cent and household good sales rose 1.1 per cent. And across the country, Queensland, the ACT and the NT saw the most growth in retail trade.

Meantime, the Federal Budget was handed down last night, with the Government delivering a budget surplus of $7.1 billion in 2019-20, a first surplus in over a decade, analysts have already came out saying it delivered very few surprises. 

UBS says the budget had much smaller stimulus than expected. And that reinforced UBS’ bearish GDP forecast of 1.9 per cent in 2019, while the Budget also rose the risk of earlier and larger RBA rate cuts.

Total government revenue is expected to grow to $513.8 billion in 2019-20, a rise of 3.6 per cent on estimated revenue in 2018-19, while total 2019-20 expenses are tipped to be $500.9 billion, that’s a rise of 2.8 per cent on estimated expenses from the year prior.

Company news

North American oil and gas maker and exploration company Otto Energy (ASX:OEL) today announced the implementation of an oil price hedging strategy to provide a floor price for oil prices whilst retaining exposure to upside.The company says it has acquired US $60 per barrel put options over 111,000 barrels of oil production for the next six months. Shares in Otto Energy (ASX:OEL) are trading 3.6 per cent lower at 5 cents.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is materials, adding 1 pt to 1.00 per cent, while the worst performing sector is energy, shedding 0.2 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Syrah (ASX:SYR), rising 5.00 per cent to $1.16. Shares in in Appen (ASX:APX) and bREVILLE (ASX:BRG) are following higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Smart Group Corporation (ASX:SIQ),dropping 8.8 per cent to $7.38, followed by shares in Spark New Zealand (ASX:SPK) and Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,292 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.4 per cent to US$89.89
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 3.2per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.92 US cents.