UK polls to determine Brexit approach: Aus shares to open higher

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock

The Australian share market is poised to open higher following positive leads from the US. Wall Street surged to fresh record highs overnight on news that US negotiators have reached the terms of a phase-one trade deal with China. The deal is now subject to President Donald Trump’s approval. UK voters went to the polls overnight with many of the battleground margin seats still in contention. The bulk of the results are expected to be announced after 1pm today. The country faced a decision to either re-elect Prime Minister Boris Johnson who has promised to remove Britain from the European Union by 31 January; or to vote for Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who has promised to put Brexit to a second referendum. Back home eyes will be on coal, oil and gas stock today following Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s acknowledgment that climate change is a factor contributing to our increasingly intense bushfire seasons. The comments followed the release of a new international ranking this week which showed that Australia is the worst-performing country on climate change policy of the 57 countries polled. All this as the Morrison government comes under fire at the COP25 conference this week following its controversial plan to use Kyoto carryover credits to meet its international emissions reduction pledge.

Markets

Wall Street closed higher yesterday: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 0.8 per cent higher at 28,132, the S&P 500 gained 0.9 per cent to 3169 and the NASDAQ added 0.7 per cent to 8717.

European markets closed higher: London’s FTSE added 0.8 per cent, Paris gained 0.4 per cent and Frankfurt rose 0.6 per cent.

Asian markets closed mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei added 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.3 per cent and China’s Shanghai Composite closed 0.3 per cent lower.

Taking all of this into equation, the SPI futures are pointing to a 0.4 per cent gain.

Yesterday, the Australian share market closed 44 points or 0.7 per cent lower at 6709.

Company news 

James Docking has resigned from his position as non-executive director of Gentrack Group (ASX:GTK) following his more than 20 year tenure with the company. This resignation within the essential services software provider comes as Darc Rasmussen is appointed to the board as a non-executive director. Tim Bluett has also resigned as Chief Financial Officer effective 31 January 2020. Recruitment of a replacement CFO is underway. Shares in Gentrack Group (ASX:GTK) closed 3.45 per cent higher at $3.60 yesterday.

Fuel distributor, Z Energy (ASX:ZEL), has downgraded its EBITDAF earnings guidance for the 2020 financial year. The company has reduced its earnings guidance from its original $450 to $490 million guidance to its current $350 million to $385 million guidance. The company attributes the downgrade to lower than expected refining margins, its response to the changes arising from the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and reduced retail margins. The downgrade will result in a reduced dividend outlook with dividend guidance for the 2020 financial year reduced to 40 cents per share, compared to its previous guidance which indicated a 48 to 50 cents per share dividend. Shares in Z Energy (ASX:ZEL) closed 0.65 per cent higher at $4.64 yesterday.

Currencies

One Australian Dollar at 8:30 AM was buying 69.07 US cents, 52.46 Pence Sterling, 75.49 Yen and 62.08 Euro cents.

Commodities

Iron Ore has lost 0.7 per cent to US$94.02.
Iron Ore futures suggest a 0.8 per cent gain.
Gold has lost $1 to US$1474 an ounce.
Silver has added 15 cents to US$17 an ounce.
Oil has gained 52 cents to US$59.28 a barrel.