Tasmania tops economic rankings: Aus shares 0.7% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Katrina Bullock

The Australian share market edged higher at the open but quickly changed direction and has been tracking lower in the first 2 hours of trade. Materials is down over 3 per cent, while Energy is down 2.7 per cent.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is almost 50 points or 0.7 per cent lower at 6,775. On the futures market the SPI is 59 points lower.

Local economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the Consumer Price Index rose 0.9 per cent during the December quarter. The most significant price rise was tobacco, climbing 10.9 per cent. Good news for your power bills though, electricity saw the largest fall, down 7.5 per cent.

Commsec also released the quarterly State of the States report this morning. Tasmania managed to hold the top spot on the economic performance rankings. It leads on four of the eight economic indicators. The Australian Capital Territory remains in second spot, followed by South Australia which shares equal third spot with Victoria. Queensland came in fifth. NSW and Western Australia are just behind sharing the sixth spot, while the Northern Territory lags behind. ACT has the strongest job market, with unemployment standing at just 3.7 per cent.

Broker moves

Credit Suisse has upgraded Webjet (ASX:WEB) from a neutral to an outperform, with a target price of $5.40. The broker believes 2022 will be a good year for earnings for the airline due to pent up demand, share gains and cost constraints enacted during the pandemic. Volumes are expected to recover and Credit Suisse believes the airline’s ability to access funding increases its appeal. It expects travel activity to be skewed towards domestic travel for a time. Shares in Webjet (ASX:WEB) are trading 0.6 per cent higher at $4.80.

Company news

Aussie e-commerce giant Booktopia Group (ASX:BKG) boasts a stellar performance for the half year to 31 December 2020. The company notched record sales during the Christmas period and the half year. Unaudited financials show a 52 per cent increase in revenue to $113 million for the half, and an increase of just over 500 per cent in EBITDA for the period. Booktopia says its investment in automation and additional distribution capacity laid the foundation for the rapidgrowth. Shares in Booktopia Group (ASX:BKG) are trading 9.8 per cent higher at $2.91 at noon.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Info Tech, adding 0.9 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Materials, shedding 3.1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Reliance Worldwide Corporation (ASX:RWC), rising 7.3 per cent to $4.40, followed by shares in IDP Education (ASX:IEL) and Pro Medicus (ASX:PME).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG),dropping 6.2 per cent to $23.73, followed by shares in Oz Minerals (ASX:OZL) and Bluescope Steel (ASX:BSL).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,850 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 2.4 per cent to US$165.07.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.3 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.54 US cents.

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