The Australian share market rose at the open and managed to maintain momentum and is now tracking 0.4 per cent higher at noon. Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE) shares have shot down over 20 per cent after reducing their guidance for the 2019-20 financial year mainly due to underperformance in the US markets. Recent drought, heat and fires in Australia have created some likely challenges with respect to the cost of the 2020 Australian vintage, which is currently in harvest. oOh!media (ASX:OML) shares also dropped today after announcing Managing Director & CEO Brendon Cook will step down this year. Meanwhile, Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK) and Credit Corp (ASX:CCP) saw their shares rise today.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 27 points up at 7,022. On the futures market the SPI is 17 points higher.
Local economic news
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.7 per cent in the December 2019 quarter, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures. This follows a rise of 0.5 per cent in the September 2019 quarter.
Citi has upgraded health and nutrition company Blackmores (ASX:BKL) from a Sell to a Neutral. Citi continues to believe the stock is overvalued but acknowledges an underweight position is risky given the ongoing pursuit of a Chinese partner, increased multinational interest in the segment and the prospect of Marcus Blackmore selling shares. The broker upgrades to Neutral from Sell and incorporates a takeover scenario into the valuation. Target is raised to $88 and $66. Shares in Blackmores (ASX:BKL) are 1.8 per cent higher at $89.18.
Webjet (ASX:WEB) has issued a statement to "clarify inaccuracies" from an analyst report as to how Webjet acquires traffic and the impact of Google Flights on that traffic acquisition. The company said its bookings were made up of 33 per cent through direct channels and another 27 per cent from paid brand searches. They say it has been a 20-year focus to ensure that when travellers in Australia and New Zealand consider travel, they think of Webjet. Shares in Webjet (ASX:WEB) are currently 2.7 per cent higher at $12.70.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Infotech adding 1 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Consumer Staples at 2.6 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK) rising 12.7 per cent to $3.60, followed by shares in Credit Corp (ASX:CCP) and Iluka Resources (ASX:ILU).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE), dropping 22.7 per cent to $12.90, followed by shares in Ooh!Media (ASX:OML) and Cost Group Holdings (ASX:CGC).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,569 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 67.68US cents.