Virtus Health closes US$6m AI tech deal: Aus shares to open lower

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock

Following mixed leads from the US markets, the Australian share market is poised to open lower this morning. This follows the release of minutes from the US Federal Reserve's meeting in March which cast uncertainty around the future movement of rates. On the commodities front, oil has increased 55 cents and gold is up $3.70. Meantime there is growing speculation that Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison will call the Federal Election today, and Virtus Health (ASX:VRT) has penned a US$6 million deal for collaboration rights and the transfer of IP in relation to its artificial intelligence technology.

Local economic news

We are expecting the ABS to release overseas arrivals and departures figures for the month of February.

Markets

To the figures from around the globe: Wall Street closed higher yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.03 per cent higher, the S&P 500 added 0.4 per cent and the NASDAQ gained 0.7 per cent to close at 7,964.

European markets closed mixed: London’s FTSE fell 0.1 per cent, Paris added 0.3 per cent and Frankfurt gained 0.5 per cent.

Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei fell 0.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.1 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.1 per cent.

Taking all of this into equation, the SPI futures are down 14 points. Yesterday the Australian share market closed 2 points higher at 6,224.

Company news

Assisted reproductive services provider, Virtus Health (ASX:VRT), has entered into transfer and collaboration agreements for its Artificial Intelligence software 'Ivy'. The agreements transfer intellectual property and patent applications relating to the 'Ivy' AI technology from Vitrus Health and Harrison. AI who were responsible for its development, across to Vitrolife (STO:VITR). Vitrolife is a Sweden company that specialises in the manufacture of EmbryoScope time lapse incubators. The 3 companies are set to collaborate over the next 3 years to ensure further development of the time lapse incubator application. Vitrolife have paid an initial 6 million US dollars for the technology, with a further 2 million to be paid on the achievement of product development targets over the next three years. Shares is Virtus Health (ASX:VRT) closed 0.8 per cent lower yesterday at $3.89.

Ex-dividends

Pengana International Equities (ASX:PIA) is paying 3.5 cents fully franked.

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 7:25 AM was buying 71.74 US cents, 54.84 Pence Sterling, 79.61 Yen and 63.64 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore futures suggest a 0.2 per cent gain.
Gold has added $3.70 to US$1,312 an ounce.
Silver has fallen 2 cents to US$15.20 an ounce.
Oil was 55 cents higher at US$64.51 a barrel.