Westpac (ASX:WBC) shares down after CEO resignation: ASX tracking 0.5% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market opened lower and made moderate gains throughout the morning. It is now tracking half a per cent higher at noon. Bravura (ASX:BVS) and Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR) saw their shares rise today. Meanwhile, Westpac (ASX:WBC) shares are down after their CEO stood down yesterday. As for the sectors, they are all in the green with the best-performing sector is Telcos, while the one with the least losses is Industrials.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 35 points up at 6,822. On the futures market the SPI is 0.4 per cent higher.

Local Economic News

Construction work done fell 0.4 per cent in the third quarter, beating consensus expectations for a 1 per cent decline. While construction work done continued to fall in the quarter, it was an improvement on the 3.8 per cent decline posted in the second quarter.

Broker moves

UBS has upgraded Westpac (ASX:WBC) to a neutral from sell with a target price of $24.50. The move comes they announced the CEO Brian Hartzer will step down, making this the third CEO of a major bank to have resigned in the last two years. The broker believes Westpac may need to spend a significant amount of money to address compliance issues. Shares in Westpac (ASX:WBC) are currently down 0.8 per cent to $24.66.

Company news

Woolworths Group (ASX:WOW) CEO Brad Banducci and Woolworths Group Chairman Gordon Cairns have acknowledged their leadership responsibility for the payment shortfalls to salaried team members under the General Retail Industry Award (GRIA). The CEO will forgo his short term bonus of $2.6 million in light of payments scandal. Brad and Gordon said: “As a Group, we have let many of our salaried team members down”. Shares in Woolworths Group (ASX:WOW) are up 0.9 per cent at $39.52.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Communication Services, adding 1.6 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Industrials, adding the least 0.03 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Bravura (ASX:BVS) rising 13.3 per cent to $4.93, followed by shares in Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR) and Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV), dropping 5.2 per cent to $27.30, followed by shares in McMillan Shakespeare (ASX:MMS) and Avita Medical (ASX:AVH).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,468 an ounce.
Iron ore price lost 1.8 per cent to US$89.30
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 1.6 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 67.88 US cents.