Healthcare sector bounces back, Cochlear gains 6%: Aus shares 0.3% higher at noon, on track for 3rd day of gains

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market is defying the odds and on track for its third day of straight gains.

Most of our sectors are tracking higher today with Healthcare up the most, bouncing back from a day and a half of selling. While traders and investors are digesting the minutes of the Monetary Policy Meeting from the Reserve Bank Board.

In terms of standout stocks today, Cochlear (ASX:COH) is up 5.8 per cent after launching the Nucleus® ProfileTM Plus Series implant, which allows patients to have routine MRI scans without removing the internal magnet. The device will be commercially available in Germany, with other European countries to follow

In terms of Wall Street’s session overnight, it closed in the red, with the three major US indices losing 0.1 per cent on the back of a somewhat disappointing Citgroup and Goldman Sachs earnings report. Nevertheless, for the overall earnings season in America, 85 per cent of companies that have reported have topped analysts’ earnings expectations according to FactSet.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.3 per cent or 21 points higher at 6,272. On the futures market the SPI is 19 points higher.

Broker calls 

Following Citi Research meeting Ramsay Health Care’s (ASX:RHC) management team, in Norway, Denmark and Germany, Citi has increased its 12-month price target from $65.00 to $67.00, noting RHC's European business is 'clearly of high quality’, with 4 to 5 per cent organic revenue growth. Citi ha maintained its overall neutral position in the stock, and at noon RHC is trading 0.3 per cent higher at $63.73.

Company news

Hillgrove (ASX:HGO) has sold the rights to develop, own and operate a pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) project to AGL (ASX:AGL) for $31 million. The project in Kanmantoo, South Australia, in the south east of Adelaide will transform the former mining site into one of the lowest cost electricity storage projects in Australia. The binding sales agreement involves AGL buying the project and its freehold title in the land (for $31 million), with AGL being able to withdraw at any time prior to payment, of the final payment milestone. Shares in AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) are trading 0.6 per cent higher at $21.95 at noon.

Santos (ASX:STO) has confirmed it has discovered a significant gas resource, in the Carnarvon Basin, offshore Western Australia. The site is well located, in its 100 per cent owned petroleum permit WA-45-R, with the company saying it has ‘one of the largest columns ever discovered across the North West Shelf’. CEO and MD Kevin Gallagher says the find opens up a number of additional exploration opportunities in the region. Shares in Santos (ASX:STO) are trading 0.6 per cent lower at $7.08 at noon.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is S&P/ASX 200 Health Care, adding 1.2 per cent. Followed by S&P/ASX 200 Consumer Staples, S&P/ASX 200 Consumer Discretionary, S&P/ASX 200 Info Tech and S&P/ASX 200 Financials which have added about 0.5 per cent or more. While the worst performing sector is S&P/ASX 200 Energy, shedding 0.7 per cent, followed by S&P/ASX 200 A-REITs.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX), rising 9.04 per cent to $0.91, followed by shares in Cochlear Limited (ASX:COH) and Webjet Limited (ASX:WEB).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Blackmores (ASX:BKL), dropping 5.2 per cent to $85.04, followed by shares in G8 Education Limited (ASX:GEM) and Emeco Holdings Limited (ASX:EHL).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.3 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,286 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 1.1 per cent to US$95.42
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.7 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.48 US cents.

Jessica Amir

Finance News Network
Jessica joined FNN in January 2017 after having worked in financial advising for seven years and in TV journalism for seven years, specialising in finance, equities and analysis. She has interviewed former Prime Ministers of Australia, Tony Abbott, Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd and ex Treasurer Jo Hockey. Jessica has worked as a journalist with Sky News Business, ABC 1, ABC's The Business, ABC24 and has also been a regional Channel 7 and 9 TV reporter with Prime7 and Win News.