Election hangs in the balance: Aus shares 0.7% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock

The ASX200 is 0.7 per cent higher at midday as the US presidential election continues to hang in the balance. The 4 swing battleground states are still being counted. 99 per cent of the votes in Georgia have been counted with less than 3,000 votes dividing the 2 candidates there – Trump taking a narrow lead in that electorate. If it does swing to Biden, we are likely to see an election result in the next hour or so. About 22,000 absentee ballots remain to be counted in Georgia, with analysts expecting the majority of mail in votes to go to the Democratic Party. This is because, unlike President Trump’s party, the Democratic party encouraged voters to mail in votes for the election to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Biden feels confident saying that “after a long night of counting, it’s clear that [his party is] winning enough states to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.”

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 42 points up or 0.7 per cent higher at 6,182. On the futures market the SPI is pointing to a 48 point rise.

Local economic news

The Australian Industry Group released the Australian Performance of Services Index for the month of October. The index jumped 15.2 points, up to 51.4 points during the month of October. This signals that a tentative recovery in domestic demand may be under way. This was the first positive month for the services sectors since November 2019.

Broker moves

Morgan Stanley rates Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) as overweight, with a price target of $2.65. It comes as Scentre achieves a major increase in rent collections for the third quarter. In the second quarter rent collections had fallen to 48 per cent. However, the third quarter trading reports shows rent collections have climbed back up to 85 per cent. Shares in Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) are trading 0.2 per cent lower at $2.38.

Company news

Tabcorp has responded to this morning’s article in the Australian which claimed that “big private equity firms are circling Tabcorp and are poised to make a bid for the embattled wagering company” in a deal that would see BetEasy boss Matthew Tripp emerge as the boss of the TAB wagering arm.” The article prompted a rise of over 15 per cent in Tabcorp stocks this morning. Tabcorp says it is “not aware of, and has not received, any proposal in respect of the Company or its businesses”. Shares in Tabcorp Holdings (ASX:TAH) are trading 15.8 per cent higher at $4.10.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Materials, adding 2.1 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Utility, shedding 0.9 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Tabcorp Holdings (ASX:TAH) after that mysterious article in Australian, rising 15.8 per cent to $4.10, followed by shares in News Corporation (ASX:NWS) and Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is CSR (ASX:CSR), dropping 3.3 per cent to $4.58, followed by shares in Cromwell Property Group (ASX:CMW) and NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,941 an ounce.
The iron ore price is steady at $116.95.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.3 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.52 US cents.