The Australian share market opened lower this and is now trading 1.5 per cent lower at noon. In some good news, NSW has recorded no new COVID-19 cases for the first time since the pandemic hit. No doubt relief for many with the easing of restrictions in place from this Friday. CSR (ASX:CSR) is leading the top 200 gains at midday, up almost 10 per cent with Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK) coming in last.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 84 points down at 5,377. On the futures market the SPI is 99 points down.
UBS has rated Suncorp Group (ASX:SUN) as a Buy. The broker says it observes Suncorp has sidestepped the more severe impacts from the pandemic compared with listed general insurer peers. UBS added that third quarter bad debt provisions in the bank were larger than expected but the investment mark-to-market losses were lower and the capital position remains robust, even ahead of the pending $194m convertible preference share conversion. Target price is $11.15 Current Price is $9.28 Difference: $1.87. Shares in Suncorp Group (ASX:SUN) are trading 5.3 per cent lower at $8.79 at noon.
Regional Express Holdings (ASX:REX) has been placed into a trading halt pending an announcement to be made by the airline in relation to a newspaper article published today. The article claims REX will invest $200m and launch flights between Australia's capital cities, adding competition on Qantas and Virgin Australia.The ASX said the securities will remain in a trading halt until the earlier of the commencement of normal trading on Thursday 14 May or when the announcement is released to the market. Shares in Regional Express Holdings (ASX:REX) last traded at 90 cents.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Health Care, and the only sector in the green at midday, adding 0.6 per cent, while the worst performing sector is REITs shedding 3.3 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is CSR (ASX:CSR), rising 9.8 per cent to $3.71, followed by shares in ResMed (ASX:RMD) and Ansell (ASX:ANN).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK) dropping 10.3 per cent to $1.39, followed by shares in Webjet (ASX:WEB) and NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH).
Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong's Hang Seng has lost 1.4 and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.1 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,697 an ounce.
Iron ore price is flat at US$88.61.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.2 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 64.43 US cents.