ASX higher: Macquarie drags after flagging $300m hit to profits

Market Reports

by Anna Napoli

Australian shares have opened firmly higher this morning with strong gains from major resources stocks offsetting a heavy loss from Macquarie Group. The S&P/ASX 200 index is 29 points higher or 0.5 per cent up at 5,889. On the futures market the SPI is pointing to a rise of 36 points. Strength in base metals and iron ore prices are seeing the likes of Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), Fortescue Metals (ASX:FML) and Western Areas track higher. Meanwhile, a number of companies that would benefit from the economy reopening are also higher after news the AstraZeneca-Oxford coronavirus vaccine trial will restart. Star Entertainment and Flight Centre are both up around 4 per cent while Qantas is up over 2 per cent. The big banks are also lifting with CBA (ASX:CBA) up 0.5 per cent and Westpac (ASX:WBC) up 1 per cent. Going the other way Cleanaway (ASX:CWY) Waste Management is among the worst performers after the company addressed reports of workplace misconduct by CEO Vik Bansal. The company also announced the retirement of its Chief Financial Officer Brendan Gill.

Local economic news

Overseas travel during August remained low according to provisional data from the ABS. International trips declined by 15.5 per cent compared to July and over 99 per cent compared to the same time last year. The largest group of arrivals apart from Australian citizens were New Zealand citizens who accounted for 7.3 per cent of all arrivals.

Company news

Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) expects its first-half results to fall around 35 per cent for the six months to September compared to the year earlier period. The investment bank says market conditions are likely to remain challenging especially due to the unprecedented uncertainty caused by COVID-19 and the uncertain speed of global economic recovery. Due to the current crisis the company has been unable to provide earnings guidance for the first time since the 2008 GFC. Shares in Macquarie are down 4 per cent lower at $120.80.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is materials gaining 1.9 per cent, while the worst performing sector is IT losing 1.9 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is New Hope  (ASX:NHC) rising 6.9 per cent to $1.20, followed by shares Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) and Eagers (ASX:APE). The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Cleanaway (ASX:CWY) dropping 7.3 per cent to $2.33, followed by shares in Nearmap (ASX:NEA) and Afterpay  (ASX:APT).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,950 an ounce.
Iron ore price Is 1.8 per cent higher at US$128.37
Iron ore futures are suggesting a rise of 2.1 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.83 US cents.