Retail sales have fallen 1.5% in September: ASX tracking 0.1% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market rose at the open and is now tracking 0.1 per cent higher at noon. Shares in Orora (ASX:ORA) are up as they report their first quarter US earnings are doing well. Shares in Megaport (ASX:MP1) have dropped despite reporting strong growth in the first quarter.

The S&P/ASX 200 index

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 6 points up at 6,190. On the futures market the SPI is suggesting a rise of 0.1 per cent, that’s 8 points.

Economic news

Retail sales have fallen 1.5 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis according to preliminary data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Broker moves

Citi rates Woolworths (ASX:WOW) as Upgrade to a Buy from a Neutral, raising estimates for earnings per share by 5 per cent for FY21 and 3.5 per cent for FY22. This reflects a rational grocery market and earnings momentum as well as appealing relative valuations. The broker assesses the sales gap over Coles (ASX:COL) is driven by the online channel and forecasts like-for-like sales growth of 11.6 per cent in the first quarter for Woolworths. Target is raised to $44.50 from $41.20. Shares in Woolworths (ASX:WOW) are tracking 1.1 per cent lower at $38.70.

Company news

Starpharma (ASX:SPL) today announced that it has received a $5.7 million R&D tax incentive refund which relates to the costs of research and development during the 2020 Financial Year. The refund is in respect of eligible R&D activities across Starpharma’s portfolio, including for Covid-19, DEP® and VivaGel® programs. The R&D tax incentive is an Australian Federal Government program which provides companies with a tax offset for eligible R&D activities. Shares in Starpharma (ASX:SPL) is trading 1 per cent lower at $1.48.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy rising 1.4 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Information Technology the sector shedding almost 1.2 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Orora (ASX:ORA) rising almost 6 per cent to $2.66, followed by shares in Tabcorp (ASX:TAH) and Western Areas (ASX:WSA).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Megaport (ASX:MP1) dropping almost 9 per cent to $15.28, followed by shares in Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) and Avita Therapeutics (ASX:AVH).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,916 an ounce.
Iron ore price is up 0.1 per cent at $119.61.
Iron ore futures are suggesting a rise of 1 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.64US cents.