The Australian share market opened lower following positive leads from the US. It has had a seesaw start to the session and is tracking 0.3 per cent higher at noon. Most of the sectors are in the green. The Information technology and Consumer Staple sectors are lifting the market, each rising over 2 per cent. The worst performing stock this morning has been G8 education (ASX:GEM) following the sale of 25 of its centres in Western Australia.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 22 points up at 6,721. On the futures market the SPI is 29 points higher.
Australia's trend unemployment rate remained steady at 5.3 per cent in October 2019, according to the latest information released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today. This follows an unemployment rate of 5.2 per cent in September and met the consensus figure the market was anticipating.
Macquarie rates BHP Group (ASX:BHP) as an outperform, and has increased its 12-month price target to $40.00. Macquarie updated the forecast to include unsanctioned projects and notes that “the company's outlook for the petroleum division is significantly more positive than Macquarie's base case when unsanctioned projects are included”. Shares in BHP Group (ASX:BHP) are trading 0.7 per cent lower at $36.54.
SG Fleet Group (ASX:SGF) has purchased a stake in Collaborate Corporation (ASX:CL8). SG Fleet Group is a Fleet management company that offers salary packaging and novated lease advisers. Collaborate is a peer to peer marketplace platform with a focus on mobility solutions, including a car subscription offering. The stake comes in the form of an equity placement at an average price of 1.4 cents per share, for a combined value of $2.2 million. Under the agreement, SG Fleet will also provide vehicles to Collaborate to facilitate further growth of its Carly car subscription division. Shares in SG Fleet Group (ASX:SGF) are trading 1.1 per cent higher at $2.71.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Information Technology, adding 2.6 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Financials, shedding 0.5 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Nearmap (ASX:NEA) rising 17.5 per cent to $2.93, followed by shares in AfterPay Touch Group (ASX:APT) and A2 Milk Company (ASX:A2M).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is G8 Education (ASX:GEM), dropping 18.3 per cent to $2.12, followed by shares in Avita Medical (ASX:AVH) and Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,463 an ounce.
Iron ore price lost 0.6 per cent to US$81.03.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.7 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.10 US cents.