The Australian share market opened modestly higher, and shot up in the first 10 minutes of trade. It held gains this morning on the back of news that Democrats had won the 2 Senate seats in Georgia and secured the balance of power in the US Senate. The news proved a tailwind for our Materials and Energy sectors, which have each climbed over 3 per cent this morning.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 102 points up or 1.5 per cent higher at 6,709. On the futures market the SPI is 102 points higher.
Local economic news
The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the seasonally adjusted estimate for total dwellings approved rose 2.6 per cent during November. Private sector house approvals rose for the fifth consecutive month, gaining 6.1 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms. Meanwhile private sector dwellings excluding houses fell 3.9 per cent. Federal and state housing stimulus measures and low interest rates have resulted in strong demand for detached dwellings.
The ABS also released data on Australia’s international trade in goods and services for the month of November. The seasonally adjusted balance on goods and services surplus decreased in November. Imports rose 10 per cent, exports rose 3 per cent.
Citi has downgraded NiB Holdings (ASX:NHF) from a Buy to a Neutral, with a price target of $5.90. This followed news that the federal government has approved premium rate increases from 1 April 2021 that are better than Citi anticipated. The broker expects this to provide support for gross margins in the short term. Shares in NiB Holdings (ASX:NHF) are trading 0.7 per cent higher at $6.10.
Payment solution provider, Tyro Payments (ASX:TYR) is experiencing a terminal connectivity issue with a number of its EFTPOS terminals. The issue started at 7am last Tuesday and continues to plague around 15 per cent of the company’s terminals. They are working with the terminal supplier, Worldline to resolve it. As a result, transaction volumes have dropped around 5 per cent over the period. Shares in Tyro Payments (ASX:TYR) are trading 0.6 per cent higher at $3.25.
Torrens Mining (ASX:TRN) started trading today. It issued shares at $0.20 and started trading on the ASX at $0.32 and is currently trading at $0.29.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Materials, adding 3.4 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Info Tech, shedding 2.7 per cent on the back of the Democrat’s win which could see tighter regulation placed on the tech sector.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Incitec pivot (ASX:IPL), rising 7.2 per cent to $2.46, followed by shares in IGO (ASX:IGO) and Oil Search (ASX:OSH).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is EML Payments (ASX:EML), dropping 5.6 per cent to $3.73, followed by shares in Xero (ASX:XRO) and Polynovo (ASX:PNV).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,917 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 0.4 per cent to US$166.76.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.1 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.98 US cents.