Westpac-MI consumer sentiment drops 1.9%: ASX is tracking 0.2% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market has risen at the open despite weak leads from Wall Street. It is now tracking 0.2 per cent higher at noon. Shares in Webjet (ASX:WEB) went up today after they responded to media speculation surrounding expressions of interest in the company. They say there is currently no such proposal. Shares on the decline include EML Payment (ASX:EML) and Pro Medicus (ASX:PME). The best-performing sector is Utilities, while the worst performing sector is Infotech.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 16 points up at 6,723. On the futures market the SPI is 1 point higher.

Local economic news

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment declined 1.9 per cent to 95.1 in December from 97.0 in November.

Broker moves

Ord Minnett has upgraded Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG) from a sell to a hold with a 12-month price target of $50.41. They say their first half is on track to record the biggest retail inflow for a half year ever. Shares in Magellan Financial Group (ASX:MFG) is currently trading 1.1 per cent lower at $52.97.

Company news

Virtus Health (ASX:VRT), Australia’s largest IVF provider, has exercised its second and final option to acquire a further 15 per cent stake in the Sims IVF Group. Sims is Ireland’s market leading IVF provider for €4.05 million through its fully owned subsidiary Virtus Health Ireland. It brings Virtus’ ownership of the Sims IVF Group to 100 per cent. Shares in Virtus Health (ASX:VRT), are currently trading 0.9 per cent higher at $4.59.

Vista Group International (ASX:VGL) reports that Chief Operating Officer, Derek Forbes, has resigned from his position effect from March 12 2020, to pursue new business opportunities, including with Vista Group associate company Stardust. Vista Group International provides film industry technology for studios, distributors, exhibitors, and moviegoers globally. Shares in Vista Group International (ASX:VGL)  currently trading 0.3 per cent higher at $3.49.

IPO

Agriculture-biotech group Terragen Holdings (ASX:TGH) started trading today. They specialise in animal health without relying on chemical-based fertilisers, pesticides and antibiotics. They floated with an issue price of $0.25, opened at $0.26 and is currently trading at $0.21.

Nitro software (ASX:NTO) started trading today. They floated with an issue price of $1.72, opened at $1.65 and closed at $1.62.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Utilities, adding 0.9 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Infotech, shedding 1.3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Webjet (ASX:WEB) rising 10.3 per cent to $12.86, followed by shares in Cooper Energy Group (ASX:COE) and Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is EML Payments (ASX:EML), dropping 4.6 per cent to $4.18, followed by shares in Appen (ASX:APX) and Pro Medicus (ASX:PME).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,464 an ounce.
Iron ore price lost 0.4 per cent to US$93.57
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.7 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.12 US cents.