The Australian share market has had a positive start to the week finishing the session higher led by resources stocks on the back of higher iron ore and base metals prices. Tech stocks continued to lose ground, Afterpay lost 1.8 per cent while Appen shed 1.1 per cent.. Investors have been encouraged however by the resumption of the AstraZeneca covid19 trials. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 40 points higher or 0.7 per cent up at 5,900. Elsewhere in the region, Asian markets pushed higher as investors returned after a recent sell-off, with vaccine hopes given the markets a boost and traders looking ahead to the Federal Reserve’s upcoming policy meeting.
Meantime Bloomberg is reporting Oracle has beaten Microsoft in a deal for Tik Tok’s US operations. Microsoft had been seen as the more likely winner but according to sources talks had cooled bnetween the companys in recent days.
Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 317 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a lift of 45 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a rise of 197 points.
And the ASX200 futures are eyeing a lift of 46 points tomorrow morning.
Incitec Pivot shares rose 2.4 per cent higher to $2.14 today after they were upgraded to buy by UBS.
The investment bank, which previously had a neutral rating on the stock, also increased its price target from $2.25 to $2.40.
Prvate equity giant Pacific Equity Partners has lobbed a $503 million dollar offer for enterprise software and services business Citadel Group. (ASX:CGL) Under the proposal PEP will buy Citadel for $5.70 a share, giving the deal an enterprise value of $503 million.
The purchase will take place via a scheme of arrangement, with the offer price representing a 43.2 per cent premium to Citadel's last closing price of $3.98 a share.
The Citadel board will declare a 15 cent per share special dividend, which will enable shareholders to receive up to 6.4 cents of franking credit benefits.
Citadel’s Board unanimously recommends that Citadel shareholders vote in favour of the Scheme in the absence of a superior proposal. Shares in Citadel Group closed 40 per cent higher to $5.57.
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. Due to the current crisis the company has been unable to provide earnings guidance for the first time since the 2008 GFC.
Cleanaway (ASX:CWY) Waste Management was today’s worst performer 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.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was materials adding 2.2 per cent while the worst performing sector was IT, shedding 0.7 per cent. The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was New Hope Corporation (ASX:NHC), rising 8.5 per cent to close at $1.22 Shares in Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Cleanaway Waste Management (ASX:CWY), dropping 7.1 per cent to close at $2.34 Shares in Nearmap (ASX:NEA) and IOOF Holdings (ASX:IFL) followed lower
All higher: Japan’s Nikkei is up 0.7 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 0.7 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.1 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,944 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.8 per cent to US$128.37.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of nearly 2 per cent.
Light crude has gained US$0.07 to US$38.15 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.82 US cents.