Retail sales unexpectedly fall 0.1%, RBA announcement ahead: Aus shares slightly higher at noon

Market Reports

by Anna Napoli

The Australian share market has lost some of its momentum at midday after gaining a little bit of ground at the open following a mixed result on Wall Street overnight. Gains from miners BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals helped keep the market afloat in early trade. While tech stocks such as Afterpay, Computershare and Wisetech Global are following US stocks lower.

Broker moves

Citi has reiterated Boral (ASX:BLD) as a buy, with a forecast of a 16 per cent h/h EBITDA earnings rebound, and the potential for a USG transaction. The investment bank believes Boral remains undervalued. Shares in Boral are trading 0.6 per cent lower to $5.28.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is up 6 points up or 0.1 per cent at noon at 6,326. On the futures market the SPI is 15 points higher.

Local economic news

Australia's Current Account Balance (March Quarter) is a deficit of $2.9 billion down from a deficit of $6.3bn in the previous quarter and missing consensus of a deficit of $2.5 billion.

Meantime, retail sales fell an unexpected one tenth of a per cent, missing consensus of a 0.2 per cent rise.

And all eyes will be on the Reserve Bank this afternoon with the market already pricing in a rate cut. August 2016 was the last time the Central Bank cut interest rates.

Company news

Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) has today announced that it has entered into multiple arrangements to allow continuation of manufacturing operations at its Gibson Island plant through to 31 December 2022. These arrangements are subject to Australia Pacific LNG’s receipt of FIRB approval. Gas supply from Australia Pacific LNG will meet the plant’s needs from 1 April 2020 through to 31 December 2022. Shares in Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) are flat at $3.32

Industrial supplies company, Spicers (ASX:SRS) has announced the sale of its Singapore Property has now completed. Spicers has received net proceeds of SG$ 9.6m on completion of the property sale, with a further SG$0.3m currently being held in escrow until finalization. Shares in Spicers (ASX:SRS) are down 0.7 per cent to 7 cents.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is materials, adding 1 per cent. While the worst performing sector is tech, shedding 2.1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Abacus(ASX:ABP), rising 5.2 per cent to $4.08, followed by Eclipx (ASX:ECX) and Metcash (ASX:MTS).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is NRW Holdings Limited (ASX:NWH) dropping 10.4 per cent to $2.46, followed by shares in Bravura Solutions (ASX:BVS) and the a2 Milk Company (ASX:A2M)

Asian markets

Lower: Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.4 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,325 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 2.4 per cent to US$99.12
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.1 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 69.66 US cents.