Tech and iron ore miners lift the market, Pfizer vaccine gets provisional approval from TGA: ASX closes 0.4% higher

Market Reports

by Anna Napoli

The local sharemarket has kicked off the week on a positive footing rising 0.4 per cent or 24 points to 6825. Gains made by tech, consumer facing companies and iron ore miners offset losses in the energy sector. Fortescue Metals Group advanced more than 4 per cent on the back of Friday’s trading update which forecast first-half net profit of $US4 billion to $US4.1 billion. While Afterpay, Wisetech and Computershare all pushed higher to help lift the tech sector by over 1 per cent. The energy sector dragged on the market today with Ampol shedding nearly 5 per cent after disclosing pricing details of its $300 million buyback. Travel stocks also fell with the likes of Qantas sheding 1.4 per cent, while Webjet and Flight Centre both fell over 3 per cent. Meantime, the TGA has granted provisional approval for the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to Australians. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said up to 80,000 vaccine doses would be administered each week starting in late February.

Futures

US futures are al higher - Dow futures are suggesting a gain of 90 points. S&P 500 futures are eyeing a gain of 16 points. The Nasdaq futures are up 100 points. And the SPI futures are eyeing a rise of 30 points on Wednesday morning.

Local economic news

There’s more pain at the bowser for motorists, with the price of petrol notching its largest increase on record last week jumping 14.4 cents a litre to an average price of 134.0 cents.

Meantime, Australia has recorded a $9 billion trade surplus in December up $7.4 billion from the November surplus. The increase came largely on the back of exports to China which accounted for $5.2 billion for the month. The boost in exports came despite the ongoing diplomatic row between China and Australia.

Broker moves

Ord Minnett has upgraded Charter Hall Retail REIT (ASX:CQR) to accumulate from hold. The broker says it expects 2021 to be another interesting year for the property sector with relatively attractive sector pricing and healthy balance sheets. Fundamentals are expected to remain strong for the industrial, self-storage, grocery-anchored retail and long weighted average lease expiry (WALE) assets with listed owners continuing to grow via M&A. Shares in Charter Hall Retail REIT (ASX:CQR) closed 0.3 per cent higher at $3.63.

Company news

Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA) has completed its acquisition of Lion Dairy & Drink. The business says acquisition of Lion doubles its size with revenue of $3 billion and brings together great brands including Bega Cheese, Vegemite, Dare, Farmers Union, Dairy Farmers, Yoplait, B honey, Big M, Masters, Juice Brothers and Berri. Shares in Bega Cheese closed0.2 per cent higher at $5.36.

Shaquille O’Neal is set to become online bookmaker PointsBet’s (ASX:PBH) Australian brand ambassador. O’Neal has agreed to take part of his consideration in the form of equity in PointsBet.

Food delivery business Youfoodz (ASX:YFZ) has reaffirmed its prospectus forecast following a strong second quarter. Net revenue for the period increased by 25.4 per cent to $36.7 million.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector was consumer discretionary gaining 1.2 per cent while the sector trailing behind was energy dropping 1.2 per cent. The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was IDP Education (ASX:IEL) closing 5.7 per cent higher to $21.58 followed by Nearmap (ASX:NEA)and Net Wealth Group (ASX:NWL). The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Ampol (ASX:ALD) dropping 4.9 per cent to $29.24, followed by shares in Webjet (ASX:WEB) and Flight Centre (ASX:FLT).

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.4 per cent Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is 0.6 per cent higher.

Commodities

Gold is trading at US$1,856 an ounce.
Iron ore has lost 0.9 per to $169.97.
Iron ore futures are suggesting a gain of 0.3 per cent.
Light crude has shed $0.04 cents to $49.99.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.40 US cents.