The Australian share market retracted at the open on the back of Wall Street’s lacklustre session, after tech stocks saw selling on the back of Google suspending business dealings with Huawei after President Donald Trump banned US companies from working with the Chinese entity. So it’s no surprise our tech sector is down the most today, and it’s shed over 3 per cent amid weak sentiment. Australia’s largest enterprise Software as a Service (SaaS) company, TechnologyOne (ASX:TNE) today announced its financial results for the half-year ended 31 March 2019, showing continuing strong growth with net profit before tax of $24.5 million up 130 per cent. Despite this their shares are almost 9 per cent lower at noon.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 10 points down to 6466 or down 0.2 per cent. On the futures market the SPI is 13 points lower.
Local economic news
RBA board released their minutes earlier this morning from their Monetary Policy Meeting earlier this month where members discussed the outlook for the domestic labour market in some detail. As in the previous meeting, members discussed the scenario where inflation did not move any higher and unemployment trended up, recognising that in those circumstances a decrease in the cash rate would likely be appropriate.
Citi has dropped its price target for Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) from $3.45 to $3.40. Citi says the business is facing external issues and unplanned outages but it sees these as temporary and it expects a strong rebound in earnings in FY20. It follows the business Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) announcing group first half FY19 NPAT of $42 million, up from $8 million in the prior corresponding period (pcp).Shares in Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) are trading 2.3 per cent higher at $3.31. Its shares are trading 8.9 per cent lower year-on-year.
Analytical testing services provider, ALS (ASX:ALQ)has announced its full year (attributable) net profit after tax soared 197 per cent higher to $153.8 million (for the period ending 31 March 2019). When it comes to itsunderlying net profit after (UNPAT), that firmed 27 per cent higher to $181.0 million, ahead of its guidance of between $170 million to $175 million. Its final dividend also rose over 27 per cent, to 11.5 cents per share. The bolstered results came on the back of growth in its Life Sciences division, its expansion into mineral commodities and its acquisitions in food and pharmaceutical in Europe, South America and North America. Shares ALS (ASX:ALQ)are trading 1.1 per cent lower at $7.96 at noon. Year-on-year its shares are 4 per cent higher.
Rare-earths mining company, Lynas Corporation (ASX:LYC) highlighted its growth plans for the business after several months of leg work.It includes ‘enhancing earnings’ by improving portfolio prices and introducing greater cost effiicidies. The growth plans which have been approved by the board are vast and varied and also include a $500 million capital plan, with the ongoing support from Japanese government-backed financier, JARE. Implementation is subject to regulatory approvals, construction work and commissioning of projects. Shares in Lynas Corporation (ASX:LYC) are trading 10.38 per cent higher at $2.18 at noon. Year-on-year its shares are 16 per cent lower.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Financials, adding 0.8 per cent, while the worst performing sector is IT, shedding 3.2 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Lynas Corp (ASX:LYC), rising 10.4 per cent to $2.18, followed by shares in James Hardie Industries (ASX:JHX) and Healius (ASX:HLS).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is TechnologyOne (ASX:TNE),dropping 8.8 per cent to $8.25, followed by shares in ComputerShare (ASX:CPU) and New Hope Corp (ASX:NHC).
Tokyo’s Nikkei lost 0.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is down 0.1 per cent, and China’s Shanghai Composite is up 0.3 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,276 an ounce.
Iron ore price is flat at US$102
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.2 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 69.15 US cents.