Aristocrat Leisure (ASX:ALL) profit jumps up: ASX tracking 1.1% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market drifted lower at the open following soft leads from Wall Street and is now tracking 1.1 per cent lower at noon. TechnologyOne (ASX:TNE) shares are on the rise today after a dip yesterday after reporting a strong increase in profit. Shares in Aristocrat Leisure (ASX:ALL) and ALS (ASX:ALQ) are also on the up today after reporting strong growth. Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR) saw their shares fall after completing their Institutional Placement raising approximately $369 million at an offer price of $2.95 per share.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 74 points down at 6,740. On the futures market the SPI is 1.1 points lower.

Broker moves

Citi has upgraded Saracen Minerals (ASX:SAR) to a buy from Neutral, with a 12-month price target of $4.10. The move comes given the likely acquisition of Barrick Gold's 50 per cent stake in the Kalgoorlie Central Gold Mine JV. Shares in Saracen Minerals (ASX:SAR) is down 8.3 per cent to $3.05.

Local Economic News

The six month annualised growth rate in the Westpac– Melbourne Institute Leading Index, which indicates the likely pace of economic activity relative to trend three to nine months into the future, lifted from –1.01% in September to –0.91% in October. Despite a slight improvement in the month, the Leading Index growth rate remains materially below trend and continues to point to weak economic momentum carrying well into 2020.

Company news

Aristocrat Leisure (ASX:ALL) show NPATA of $894.4 million representing growth of 22.6 per cent in reported terms and 13.9 per cent in constant currency. The Directors have authorised a final fully franked dividend of 34.0 cents per share ($217.1 million) in respect of the 6 months ended 30 September 2019. Shares in Aristocrat Leisure (ASX:ALL) are up 5.2 per cent to $33.46.

Testing company ALS (ASX:ALQ) today announced underlying net profit after tax (NPAT) from continuing operations of $98.2 million for H1 FY20, exceeding the guidance range of $90 million to $95 million provided to the market in July 2019. This is an increase of 5.3 per cent in NPAT compared to the prior corresponding period (pcp). This was primarily driven by growth across all regions in the Life Sciences and Industrial divisions combined with some acquisition growth, including an initial contribution from ARJ, a Mexico-based pharmaceutical laboratory acquired in August 2019. Shares in ALS (ASX:ALQ) are up 6.44 per cent to $8.60.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Consumer Discretionary, adding 0.6 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Energy, shedding 1.5 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is TechnologyOne (ASX:TNE) rising 6.5 per cent to $8.36, followed by shares in ALS (ASX:ALQ) and Aristocrat Leisure (ASX:ALL)

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR), dropping 8.3 per cent to $3.05, followed by shares in Appen (ASX:APX) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,472 an ounce.
Iron ore price is flat at $85.80
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.3 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.23US cents.

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