Unemployment rate steady at 5.1%: Aus shares 0.1% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock

The Australian share market opened slightly lower this morning following positive leads from Wall Street. It has made ground over the first two hours of trade, continuing to unwind some of the losses it sustained on Tuesday and is now tracking 0.1 per cent higher at noon. The Energy sector is leading the way and all sectors except Financials and Healthcare are making gains at noon. The best performing stock this morning has been accounting software company, Xero (ASX:XRO), following the release of their annual report which showed a 36 per cent rise in operating revenue compared to the prior corresponding period. Out of home media company oOh!Media (ASX:OML) has also been a stand out performer leading into their AGM today.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 7 points higher at 6,291. On the futures market the SPI is 7 points higher.

Broker moves

Citi has upgraded their 12-month month price target for paint and coating manufacturer, DuluxGroup, (ASX:DLX) from $9.74 to $9.80 following a strong March quarter which has put them back on track to meet their guidance for the 2019 financial year. Citi continues to rate the stock as a neutral, as fears surface that the housing market, including the renovation and repair market, may be showing signs of "bottoming out". DuluxGroup management remains confident that the company's sale to Nippon Paint for a cash takeover offer of $9.80 will proceed as planned. Shares in DuluxGroup (ASX:DLX) are trading 0.2 per cent lower at $9.72.

Local economic news

Australia's trend unemployment rate remained steady last month at 5.1 per cent according to the latest information released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This is the same rate as the previous month and is 0.4 percentage points lower than the same time last year. The trend monthly underemployment rate remained steady at 8.3 per cent in April and decreased by 0.2 percentage points over the year.

Company news

AVITA Medical (ASX:AVH) has published a new joint study which shows that its RECELL® System for the treatment of in-patient burns is potentially cost-saving and results in reduced length of hospital stay as compared to the standard of care. Each year nearly half a million Americans suffer acute thermal burns, resulting in around 50,000 hospitalisations and more than 3,000 deaths. The study was conducted in collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and IQVIA, and has been published in peer-reviewed journal, Advances in Therapy. The joint research developed a health economic model of the U.S. burn care pathway. Utilizing this model, health economic data projects that use of the RECELL System to treat in-patient burns could save a major US burn center up to $28 million US dollars annually. Shares in AVITA Medical (ASX:AVH) are trading 12.5 per cent higher at 49 cents.

The managing director of automotive loans provider, Money3 Corporation (ASX:MNY), Scott Baldwin, presented to investors at the Shaw and Partners Emerging Leaders conference in Melbourne today. For the first half of the 2019 financial year Money3 saw strong results compared to the prior corresponding period. Group Revenue is up 9.3 per cent to $66 million. Group EBITDA has increased 13.2 per cent to $31.1 million, and Group NPAT has grown13.3 per cent to $17.5 million. This follows the sale of the branch and online distribution channels that support SACC (pay day) lending and the acquisition of Go Car Finance in the New Zealand market. The results come despite "increasing regulatory headwinds and greater levels of conservatism in mainstream lending for personal and automotive loans". Shares in Money3 Corporation (ASX:MNY) are trading 1.5 per cent lower at $2.01.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy, adding 1.5 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Financials, shedding 0.6 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Xero (ASX:XRO), rising 9.1 per cent to $59.25, followed by shares in oOh!Media (ASX:OML) and Nearmap (ASX:NEA).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is McMillan Shakespare (ASX:MMS),dropping 4.5 per cent to $12.61, followed by shares in Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) and Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX).

Asian markets

Asian markets are trading lower: Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.9 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 0.3 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite has lost 0.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,296 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 2.8 per cent to US$96.95.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 3.8 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 69.1 US cents.