The Australian share market opened in positive territory following encouraging leads from Wall Street and is now tracking 0.2 per cent higher at noon. All of the sectors are in the green except Consumer Staples, Financials and telecommunications. Materials is leading the way with very strong performances from underlying stocks. This sector’s top 2 stocks this morning - Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Orocobre (ASX:ORE) have also managed to top the ASX best performers list.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 11 points higher at 6,750. On the futures market the SPI is 0.2 per cent higher.
Local economic news
CommSec has released its October 2019 State of the States report. Victoria remains Australia’s best-performing economy, leading the overall economic performance rankings and topping the charts in terms of economic growth, retail trade, the job market and construction work done. NSW comes in second on the overall economic performance rankings and is consistently strong across the indicators, ranking second on five of the eight indicators.
Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) is sitting on the best performers list this morning. This comes as Morgan Stanley rates the iron ore company as overweight, with a 12-month price target of $18.20. The broker notes that Mount Marion, which was a concern to investors in the current soft market, has performed well in the first quarter compared to other lithium competitors. Meanwhile iron ore shipments were in line with estimates and Wodgina construction is 99 per cent complete. Shares in Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) are trading 2.7 per cent higher at $13.70.
Morgans maintains its recommendation to add furniture and renovation company Adairs (ASX:ADH), however it has reduced its 12-month price target from $ 1.95 of $1.93. The broker believes that elevated supply chain costs will persist across FY20-21 until the new distribution centre is operational. Until this time, the broker suspects Adairs will compensate shareholders via a higher dividend payout-out. Shares in Adairs (ASX:ADH) are trading 1.4 per cent higher at $1.80.
Karoon Energy (ASX:KAR) is on the hunt for one or more independent non executive directors. Given the context of its completion of the Bauna oil field acquisition currently scheduled for Q1 2020, the board will concentrate on finding directors with a focus on enhancing global oil production operations and project development experience. This follows the news that 3 directors are set to retire from the board, including the company’s founder and long term exploration director, Mark Smith. Two directors are also up for re-lection at the upcoming AGM on 26 November 2019, and Bruce Phillips has been nominated for consideration. The company has also signalled that the board may reduce in overall size going forward. Shares in Karoon Energy (ASX:KAR) are trading 1.7 per cent lower at $0.99.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Materials, adding 0.9 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Financials, shedding 0.3 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), rising 5.4 per cent to $0.29, followed by shares in Orocobre (ASX:ORE) and Seek (ASX:SEK).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Sims Metal Management (ASX:SGM),dropping 9.7 per cent to $9.11, followed by shares in Cleanaway Waste Management (ASX:CWY) and Blackmores (ASX:BKL)
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,505 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 0.7 per cent to US$87.98
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.95 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.18 US cents.