Banks offset gains by CSL and James Hardie: Aus shares 0.04% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Anna Napoli

Australian shares have clawed back from early lows to be flat at noon as the big banks offset gains by CSL, James Hardie and Sonic Healthcare. The ASX is 0.04 per cent or 3 points lower at 6193 the SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 22 points. CSL and James Hardie have rallied on the back of increases in their respective profit guidances and Sonic Healthcare has pushed higher after revealing its first quarter earnings jumped 71 per cent. Meanwhile the tech sector is on track for its eighth straight day of gains. Zip has lost 3.92 despite posting record quarterly revenue of $71.7 million. Fellow buy now pay later Afterpay is faring better up 2.5 per cent after the company was cleared by AUSTRAC.

Local economic news

Australia’s consumer confidence rose 11.9 per cent to a three-month high of 105 points in October due to the federal budget, according to Westpac. When asked if the budget would “improve their finances”, the majority of respondents surveyed by Westpac said that it would. This is the first time people have responded positively to the budget since Westpac started asking that question in 2010.

Meantime, The seasonally adjusted estimate for the total number of dwelling units commenced in the June quarter fell 5.6 while The value of total building work done fell 3.8 per cent according to the ABS.

Broker call

RBC Capital Markets has upgraded its rating on Afterpay (ASX:APT) from sector perform to outperform, saying it expects the company to report continued acceleration in topline growth and increasing customer adds in the US and UK.....The broker also increased its price target from $83.00 to $107.00, saying has previously been too conservative when it came to valuing the business. Shares in Afterpay (ASX:APT)  are trading 2.5 per cent higher at $96.80.

Company news

CSL (ASX:CSL) has raised the lower end of its full year profit guidance and is now expecting growth of between 3 per cent and 8 per cent despite warning of higher plasma costs. Shares in CSL (ASX:CSL) are trading 1.8 per cent higher at $303.47

Buy Now pay later company Zip (ASX:Z1P) has posted record quarterly revenue of $71.7 million and record quarterly transaction volume of $943.1 million. Zip's September quarter trading update also showed that transaction numbers were up 130 per cent year-on-year. Despite the stellar results shares in Zip (ASX:Z1P) are trading 3.9 per cent lower at $7.59

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is healthcare gaining 1.5 per cent as heavyweights CSL and Sonic push higher, while the energy sector is lagging behind shedding almost 1 per cent. The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is EML payments (ASX:EML) rising 8 per cent to $3.53, followed by shares Nearmap (ASX:NEA) and Bank of Queensland.(ASX:BOQ) The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) dropping 5.7 per cent lower to $20.97, followed by shares in Flight centre (ASX:FLT) and ZIP Co.(ASX:Z10).

Commodities

Gold is trading at US$1,892 an ounce.
Iron ore has lost 2.5 per to $121.15
Iron ore futures are suggesting a fall of 0.9 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.66 US cents.