Payroll jobs for construction up 5.9% for the week: ASX tracking 1.2% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The local sharemarket is up at 1.2 per cent or 79 point higher to 7,742. The SPI futures point to a rise of 80 points. Afterpay (ASX:APT) shares are up today as Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) dropped.

Local economic news

Payroll jobs and total wages both increased by 1.3 per cent, between the weeks ending 2 January 2021 and 16 January 2021. Largest increases were in manufacturing up 6.5 per cent and Construction up 5.9 per cent, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Broker moves

UBS rates Healius (ASX:HLS) as an Upgrade to a Buy from a Sell. The sale of the GP component within the medical centre division has significantly improved the capital structure, in the broker's view, and Healius is now in a position to increase the dividend pay-out and fund an on-market share buyback. Target price is $4.40. Shares in Healius (ASX:HLS) are currently 6.8 per cent higher at $4.19.

Company news

Leading health imaging company Pro Medicus (ASX:PME) has received FDA clearance for its Breast Density AI Algorithm. This is in addition previously receiving CE clearance in Europe and TGA clearance in Australia paving the way for the company to market the algoritm across all three jurusdictions. The Breast Density algorithm assesses breast density from a mammography study and provides an ACR BI-RADS Atlas 5th Edition breast density category to aid radiologists in the assessment of breast tissue composition. Shares in Pro Medicus (ASX:PME) is trading 2.1 per cent lower at $41.91.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information Technology gaining 3.5 per cent while the sector trailing behind is Healthcare lost almost 1 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Healius (ASX:HLS) rising 6.8 per cent to $4.19, followed by shares in Afterpay (ASX:APT) and Reliance Worldwide Corp (ASX:RWC).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) dropping 5.6 per cent to $5.21, followed by shares in Blackmores (ASX:BKL) and The A2Milk company (ASX:A2M).

Commodities

Gold is trading at US$1,862 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.9 per cent lower at $157.07.
Futures are suggesting a fall of 0.7 per cent.