Wage Price Index rises 0.5% in the March quarter: ASX 0.5% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market opened higher following Wall Street’s claw back and is now tracking 0.5 per cent higher at noon. Viva Energy Group shares took a dip today - as did Washington H Soul Pattinson (ASX:SOL) despite no news from them. Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) is trading at one-year highs. More on this later. Woolworths (ASX:WOW) and Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) have both seen falls. Property group, the Goodman Group (ASX:GMG) shares are down after reporting $44.1 billion total assets under management for the nine months to 31 March 2019. Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX) has seen a rise today as have Altium (ASX:ALU) and Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR).

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 32 points up at 6,272. On the futures market the SPI is 46 points higher

Local economic news

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment rose 0.6 per cent to 101.3 in May from 100.7 in April

And from the ABS the seasonally adjusted Wage Price Index (WPI) rose 0.5 per cent in the March quarter 2019 and 2.3 per cent through the year. Seasonally adjusted private sector wage growth was 0.5 per cent, and 0.4 per cent for the public sector in the March quarter.

Company news

Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) announced a special dividend of $0.60 per share, payable on 14 June 2019, on top of the earlier interim and special dividend declared in February and already paid. The news broke yesterday afternoon and today Major international bank, Citi says FMG is perhaps bringing forward dividend payments before possible Australian tax legislation changes are made around dividend imputation. Citi Research expects a potential further final dividend and has also slightly increased its FY19 total dividend forecast to be $0.93 for FY19. Today the iron ore major is presenting at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference, and has reiterated its FY19 shipment guidance of 165-170 million tones. Shares in Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) are trading 0.3 per cent higher at $8.11 at noon. Year to date its shares at 94 per cent higher.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information Technology, adding 1.4 per cent, while the worst performing sector is REITS, the only one in the red today shedding 0.3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Eclipx (ASX:ECX), rising 7.2 per cent to $0.96, followed by shares in Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) and Altium (ASX:ALU).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC),dropping 2.4 per cent to $4.91, followed by shares in Viva Energy Group (ASX:VEA) and Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei is up 0.01 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has risen 0.8 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is seeing a rise of 1.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,296 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 1.8 per cent to US$94.34
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.6 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 69.33 US cents.