The Australian share market rose at the open and is now tracking 1.9 per cent higher at noon. Shares in Clinuvel (ASX:CUV) rose today after reporting yesterday that their supply of Scenesse – its photoprotective drug – has not been affected by coronavirus. Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA) shares are also on the rise after they reported yesterday a significant increase in earnings. And Australia records another current account surplus, more on this later. The best-performing sector is Infotech, adding 1.6 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Utilities.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 119 points up at 6,511. On the futures market the SPI is 2.1 per cent higher.
Local economic news
Another quarterly goods and services surplus at $13.9 billion and a narrowing net income deficit to $12.5 billion, contributed to Australia recording a seasonally adjusted $1.0 billion current account surplus for the December quarter 2019, according to latest information released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The seasonally adjusted estimate for total dwellings approved fell 15.3 per cent in January, driven by a 35.5 per cent decrease in private dwellings excluding houses. This was largely due to weakness in approvals for apartments (which is volatile from month-to-month), especially in Victoria.
Credit Suisse has upgraded Aristocrat Leisure (ASX:ALL) to an Outperform from a Neutral amid continued momentum in the digital business. The broker also notes Cashman game upgrades have lifted revenue well above the trough. Target price is steady at $35. Shares in Aristocrat Leisure (ASX:ALL) are currently 3.5 per cent higher at $33.49.
Atlas Arteria (ASX:ALX) is pleased to announce that, further to the release made on 17 February 2020, the APRR Transaction has now completed. Atlas Arteria now owns a 31.14 per cent indirect interest in APRR and a 31.17% indirect interest in ADELAC. The new shareholder agreements with co-investors in the APRR structure have come into effect, and all remaining management agreements with the Macquarie Group have been terminated. To ensure a smooth transition, there is a short term transition services agreement with the Macquarie Group, in respect of which no fees are payable. Shares in Atlas Arteria (ASX:ALX) are up 3.67 per cent at $8.19.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Information technology adding 3.6 per cent, while the worst performing sector is utilities gaining the least at 0.5 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV) rising 13.22 per cent to $19.36, followed by shares in Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN).
And Bega Cheese (ASX:A2M).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Perenti Global (ASX:PRN), dropping 4.2 per cent to $1.35, followed by shares in Virgin Money (ASX:VUK) and Spark Infrastucture (ASX:SKI).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,597 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 5.9 per cent up at US$88.93.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 3.52 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 65.36US cents.