Australian shares have surged higher in the first two hours of trade the ASX is 1 per cent or 61 points up at 6193 the SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 65 points. Afterpay and Xero have bounced to fresh records after tech companies pushed higher on Wall Street overnight and locally the domestic tech sector is on track for its seventh straight day of gains. Financials are performing strongly and the big banks are all trading higher. Unibail Rodamco Westfield is the top performer after inking a deal with a consortium of French institutional investors for the sale of its SHiFT office building for €620 million. But, energy and materials are lagging after China reportedly told its steel mills and power plants to stop buying Australian coal.
Elsewhere in the region the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has suspended its morning trading session as a tropical storm prompted authorities to shutter businesses and close schools. Meantime, US futures have retreated after a report that Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine study has been paused due to an unexplained illness in a participant.
Morgan Stanley has upgraded Link Administration to equal-weight from underweight. The upgrade comes on the back of a takeover proposal for the company from Pacific Equity Partners and Carlyle yesterday. Given the strategic interest in Link Administration, Morgan Stanley has increased its target price from $3.40 to $5.20. Shares in Link Administration are trading 0.6 per cent higher at $5.02.
Telstra (ASX:TLS) chairman John Mullen has called for a simpler model for executive pay after revealing several key leaders including chief executive Andy Penn missed out on $758,000 worth of incentives last financial year because of poor sales practices. Shares in Telstra (ASX:TLS) are trading 2.7 per cent higher at $2.85.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is utilities gaining 1.8 per cent, while the sector with the least gains is materials adding 0.04 per cent. The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Unibail- Rodamco Westfield (ASX:URW) rising 6.1 per cent to $2.98, followed by shares in Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK) and IDP Education (ASX:ARB) The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Whitehaven Coal (ASX:NCM) dropping 4.1 per cent lower to 0.95, followed by shares in NRW Holdings (ASX:NRW) and Cleanaway Waste Management (ASX:RMS).
Best and worst performers
Gold is trading at US$1,919 an ounce.
Iron ore has lost 1.2 per to $123.23
Iron ore futures are suggesting a fall of 0.8 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.78 US cents.