Two consecutive current account surpluses: ASX 1.7% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market dropped at the open following soft leads from Wall Street and is now tracking 1.7 per cent lower at noon. Speedcast International and shares in Western Areas (ASX:WSA) are on the up. Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK) shares are falling after shooting up last week when they released strong results for FY19. Avita Medical (ASX:AVH) and Hub24 (ASX:HUB) are also on the decline. The best-performing sector is Energy while the worst performing sector is Consumer Staples.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 114 points down at 6,748. On the futures market the SPI is 121 points lower.

Economic news

Australia's current account surplus widened to $7.9 billion in the September quarter, the first surplus since June 1975. Increased export volumes of liquid natural gas, coal and iron ore helped lift the balance from the last quarter.

Later this afternoon the RBA will make a decision on interest rates.

Broker moves

Citi has upgraded Insurance Australia (ASX:IAG) from a Neutral to a Buy with a 12-month price target of $8.75 up from $8.60. Citi believes it is plausible Insurance Australia Group could achieve 4-6 per cent growth in earnings per share for FY22 and beyond. Shares in Insurance Australia (ASX:IAG) closed 2.7 per cent lower at $7.67.

Company news

The Uniti Group (ASX:UWL) is looking to raise $85 million for the acquisition of 1300 Holdings and its related entities for $78 million. 1300 Australia is Telstra’s Official Phoneword Partner, formerly majority owned by Telstra. They delivered FY19 EBITDA of $10.9 million, with a pro-forma FY20 EBITDA of $12m in UWL ownership.The Board believes that the 1300 Australia acquisition should deliver, on a proforma basis, ~28 per cent EBITDA per share accretion in FY20, including certain identified cost savings. Shares in the Uniti Group (ASX:UWL) last traded at a $1.78.

Following a number of successful trials, PainChek (ASX:PCK) has received an order for 1,000 annual bed licences as an initial supply for their UK aged care and nursing home clients. Person Centred Software UK placed the order. They have more than 55,000 resident beds under PCS licenses in the UK across more than 1500 aged care homes. Their sales teams are actively marketing the combined PCS and PainChek package to our existing and new client base. The software integration between PainChek and PCS provides a clear and mutual benefit to both organisations across both continents. Shares in PainChek (ASX:PCK) are currently 4.8 per cent higher at $0.22.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy, losing the least at 1.1 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Consumer Staples, shedding 2.5 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Speedcast International rising 1.5 per cent to $0.83, followed by shares in Western Areas (ASX:WSA) and Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV)

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Avita Medical (ASX:AVH), dropping 6.7 per cent to $0.59, followed by shares in Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK) and Hub24 (ASX:HUB).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,463 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.1 per cent to US$88.45.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.6 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.23 US cents.