Suncorp (ASX:SUN) surpasses natural hazard allowance: Aus shares close 0.8% higher

Market Reports

by Ortenzia Borre

The Australian share market rallied at the open and managed to maintain momentum before a slight drop in the afternoon although still closing 0.8 per cent higher. Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) led the way in the gains today although reported easing tensions between the US and the Middle East saw a drop in gold prices with Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) and Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) being the worst performers.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 57 points higher to finish at 6,874.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting 36 point rise.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 4 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a rise of 15 points.
The ASX200 futures are eyeing a 63 point gain tomorrow morning.

Company news

Suncorp (ASX:SUN) has received more than 2,600 bushfire-related claims since September 2019 with a total estimated cost of between $315 to 345 million.

The bank provided an update on its response to Australia’s catastrophic bushfires stating the total natural hazard costs for the six-months to 31 December 2019 were $519 million, $109 million above the bank’s natural hazard allowance.

Despite the claims, CEO Steve Johnston said the group’s immediate focus is on doing everything it can to support customers who need urgent assistance and that Suncorp has in place a broad reinsurance program with enhanced natural hazard protection in FY20. Shares in Suncorp (ASX:SUN) closed 1.3 per cent higher at $13.19.

Looking at some more headlines:

Lake Resources (ASX:LKE) has confirmed that battery grade lithium carbonate with 99.9 per cent purity has been produced with very low impurities from Lake’s Kachi Lithium Brine Project exceeding industry standard specifications.

Woodside (ASX:WPL) has received government approval for its Senegal joint venture, The Sangomar project.

Catapult Group International has (ASX:CAT) signed a deal with Colombian professional football league DIMAYOR which will see all 36 of its football teams use Catapult Vector for the next three years.

Freedom Foods Group (ASX:FNP) has confirmed that none of its dairy farms or site operations have been directly affected by the recent Victorian and New South Wales bushfires. All sites continue to remain fully operational.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Info Tech adding 2.2 per cent while the worst performing sector was Energy, as well as being the only sector in the red, shedding 0.9 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), rising 10 per cent to close at 33 cents. Shares in Polynovo (ASX:PNV) and Jumbo Interactive (ASX:JIN) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG), dropping 3.6 per cent to close at $1.22. Shares in St Barbara (ASX:SBM) and Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) followed lower.

Asian markets

All Higher: Japan’s Nikkei has gained 2.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 1.1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is also up 0.6 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,558 an ounce.
Iron ore price has gained 1.2 per cent at US$96.22
Iron ore futures are eyeing to a fall of 2.1 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.37 up at US$59.98 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.73 US cents.