Westpac profit slumps: ASX tracking 1.1% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian shares market fell at the open and is now tracking 1.1 per cent lower at noon. US President Donald Trump has increased pressure on China to reach a trade deal by announcing he'll hike tariffs even higher. It's likely this will be felt on Wall Street in the morning. Back home infant formula company Bubs (ASX:BUB) has seen a rise in their shares today after announcing they'd entered into a supply agreement with Fonterra Australia (ASX:FSF) to produce Bubs Organic new infant formula range. Banks are bringing the market down today, Westpac's (ASX:WBC) half-year profit has fallen by almost a quarter as the cost of customer compensation mounts amid weaker business conditions. The bank's statutory net profit fell 24 per cent to $3.2 billion for the half-year to March 3.

Broker moves

Citi has maintained its buy position for Westpac (ASX:WBC) shares and has upgraded its 12 month price target from $27.44 to $30.00. They believe subdued results in FY19, should leave the bank well positioned in FY20 and beyond. Meanwhile, UBS rate Westpac shares as a sell. They list 12 month target price at $24.50 saying soft revenue targets continue.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 67 points down at 6,269. On the futures market the SPI is 77 points lower.

Local economic news

We can expect to see the Melbourne Institute's monthly inflation gauge.

Company news

Hardware distributor Dicker Data (ASX:DDR) has been appointed as a distributor of the range of Kaspersky Lab products for Australia and New Zealand. This comes into effect from today. The addition of Kaspersky Lab will enable their partners to provide a range of new cybersecurity protection and threat intelligence capabilities to secure their customers. Shares in Dicker Data Limited (ASX:DDR) are 1.6 per cent higher $4.35

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Utlities, adding 0.03 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Info Tech, shedding 2.1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN), rising 3.4 per cent to $3.18, followed by shares in Domain Holdings Australia (ASX:DHG) and Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Cimic Group (ASX:CIM), dropping 6.5 per cent to $46.80, followed by shares in Emeco Holdings (ASX:EHL) and NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH).

Asian Markets

Nikkei is closed Hong Kong's Hang Seng is trading 2.5 per cent lower and Shanghai composite is trading 3.9 per cent lower

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,282 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 69.78 US cents.