Stocks surge 1.1% at noon: Westpac & CBA face corporate regulators

Market Reports

by Anna Napoli

The local sharemarket has shrugged off a weak open to record a strong start to December The S&P/ASX200 is up 74 points or 1.1 per cent to 6592. Futures are pointing to a gain of 56 points. Energy is the only sector index in the red, the other 10 sectors are up at least 1 per cent. Collins Foods shares have climbed 4.4 per cent after a lift in revenue and its dividend. But its not good news for two of our big banks,  APRA has initiated a probe into possible compliance breaches, Westpac despite the news shares are up 0.8 per cent. Meantime CBA is facing Federal Court action by the corporate regulator. ASIC is alleging it breached the law more than 12,000 times by slugging customers with incorrect interest rates on overdrafts.

Local economic news

Australia's current account surplus fell $6.32 billion to $10.02 billion in the September quarter. Economists had forecast a surplus of $7.1 billion.

Meantime, building approvals for private sector houses rose for a fourth consecutive month in October, their highest recorded level since February 2000. Total building approvals rose 3.8 per cent in October, with rises across all building types.

And, Payroll jobs climbed by 0.4 per cent in Victoria over the fortnight to mid-November, the data show, and by 0.1 per cent nationally. Payroll jobs have lifted for three fortnights in a row, pointing to a continued labour market recovery.

Broker call

Moelis has upgraded APN Convenience Retail REIT (ASX:AQR) to buy from hold. The broker says the business has reaffirmed its funds from operations and dividend guidance. Meanwhile the addition of two accretive acquisitions since the REIT's August results makes Moelis expect the outcome will be more towards the top-end of the REIT's FFO guidance. Shares in APN Convenience Retail (ASX:AQR) are trading 1.4 per cent lower at $3.64.

Company news

Collins Foods (ASX:CKF) statutory half year revenue rose 11 per cent to $499.6 million however profit slid 19 per cent to $16.8 million. The company’s European arm saw same store sales declines by 4 per cent due to COVID-19 restriction. Shares in Collins Foods are trading 4.4 per cent higher at $9.76 

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is information technology gaining 1.6 per cent while the sector trailing behind is energy dropping 0.3 per cent. The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Dominos Pizza (ASX:DMP) rising 10.9 per cent to $82.05 , followed by shares in Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR)  and Polynovo (ASX:PNV) The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is IDP Education (ASX:IEL) dropping 3.7 per cent to $23.56 , followed by shares in Unibail Rodamco Westfield (ASX:URW) and Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA).

Commodities

Gold is trading at US$1,780 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.6 per cent higher $131.63
Futures are suggesting a fall of 0.8 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.59 US.