The Australian share market opened higher this morning with the S&P/ASX 200 Index 75 points up or 1.1 per cent higher at 6,707. Futures are pointing to a rise of 70 points. Shares in Service Stream (ASX:SSM) are falling today despite announcing they have just secured a significant long-term agreement with the nbn. Shares in Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU) are currently performing the best.
The Australia Bureau of Statistics report the business Impacts of Covid-19. In December, 25 per cent of businesses reported increased revenue over the last month. One in five (21%) businesses reported they were having difficulty finding suitably skilled staff. Two thirds (65%) of medium and large employing businesses plan to employ staff over the next three months.
UBS rates QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) as a Downgrade to a Neutral from a Buy. UBS notes on January 1, 2021, QBE Insurance has a major reinsurance renewal which could lead to a sizeable margin headwind. Target price is $10.50. Shares in QBE Insurance (ASX:QBE) is currently 0.3 per cent higher at $9.96.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) has entered into an agreement to merge Aussie Home Loans with Lendi, an online home loan platform. CBA will keep a 45 per cent shareholding in the combined business, with existing Lendi shareholders holding the remaining 55 per cent shareholding. CBA will also receive deferred consideration and a pre-completion dividend of $105 million in aggregate. Completion of the transaction is subject to ACCC approval and other conditions. Shares in the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) are currently 1.5 per cent higher at $84.34.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Infotech gaining 2.4 per cent while the sector trailing behind is Industrials with the fewest gains adding 0.1 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU) rising 7.2 per cent to $1.22, followed by shares in Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) and Webjet (ASX:WEB).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Service Stream (ASX:SSM) dropping almost 8 per cent to $2.20, followed by shares in Tassal Group (ASX:TGR) and Perenti (ASX:PRN).
Gold is trading at US$1,852 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.5 per cent higher at $155.07.
Futures are suggesting a rise of 2.2 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.50US.