Shares in Northern Star (ASX:NST) and Saracen (ASX:SAR) soar on merger reveal: ASX tracking 0.1% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market dropped at the open and is now tracking 0.1 per cent lower at noon. It’s no surprise that Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) shares are on the rise today after the announcement of their plan to merge with Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR) to create a top-10 global gold miner. Meantime, shares in the Mirvac Group (ASX:MGR) are on the decline.

The S&P/ASX 200 index

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 6 points down at 5,935. On the futures market the SPI is suggesting a fall of 13 points.

Local economic news

Australia's trade balance surplus has fallen to $2.64 billion in August from $4.65 billion in July, well below the $5.05 billion surplus economists had been forecasting.

Broker moves

Credit Suisse rates the Coles Group (ASX:COL) as an Upgrade to an Outperform from a Neutral. The broker notes that holiday events will provide a boost to the company. Cost control and an improvement in gross margins are also likely to provide a basis for strong profit leverage. Target price is $20.16. Shares in the Coles Group (ASX:COL) are currently 0.5 per cent higher at $17.48.

Company news

The Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR) with their debt providers have agreed to a full waiver of its gearing and interest cover ratio covenants. The Star successfully applied to participate in the Federal Government’s JobKeeper Payment wage subsidy scheme in April 2020, with almost 7,000 staff eligible under the scheme. The Star Sydney is eligible for JobKeeper phase 2 but The Star Queensland entities will not be eligible for JobKeeper phase 2. Shares in The Star Entertainment Group (ASX:SGR) almost 1 per cent higher at $3.19.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy adding 1.9 per cent, while the worst performing sector is A-REIT losing 1.2 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) rising 6.8 per cent to $14.77, followed by shares in Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR) and Cooper Energy (ASX:COE).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Mirvac Group (ASX:MGR) dropping 2.6 per cent to $2.26, followed by shares in Nanosonics (ASX:NAN) and ALS (ASX:ALQ).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,913 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.87US cents.