The local sharemarket’s bright start has faded in the second hour of trade. The market opened up around 40 pts following Wall Street higher but has eased back and is trading mostly flat at lunch. One of the big weights on the market has been the resumption of trade for Westpac following a trading halt for a capital raise. The bank released its full year results yesterday with a 16 per cent slump in profit. Westpac’s share price is down around 4 per cent. The other three major banks have managed to lift after several days of losses. Some of the miners are making improvements including BHP, Fortescue and Rio and energy stocks are outperforming the market. The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.1 per cent higher at 6692. On the futures market the SPI is 8 points higher.
Morgans has pulled its rating on Origin back to hold from Add. The broker says Asia Pacific LNG production was solid, aided by better prices, but Energy Markets were less impressive with electricity volumes down 8 per cent and gas down 7 per cent.
The broker has reduced its forecast for the division to the bottom end of the guidance range.
IMF Bentham (ASX:IMF) has announced the conditional in principle settlement of an Australian securities class action it has funded as part of its portfolio. All preconditions to settlement are satisfied, including obtaining court approval. IMF currently expects to generate income of up to approximately $12 million.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is energy adding 0.8 per cent, while the worst performing sector is telcos, shedding 0.4 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Sothern Cross Media (ASX:SXL) rising 3.7 per cent to $.90, followed by shares in Janus Henderson Group (ASX:JHG) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Speedcast International (ASX:SDA), dropping 6 per cent to $0.94, followed by shares in Pilbarra Minerals(ASX:PLS) and Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,508 an ounce.
Iron ore price shed 2.7 per cent to US$83.27
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.3 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.80 US cents.