The local market has had a bumpy start this morning with the S&P/ASX 200 Index steady at noon at 6,857 points. SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 25 points.
Citi rates Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG) as a buy from neutral with a price target of $5.90. The broker expects a significant increase in hazards allowance in financial year 2022 while in the short term, a small impact from lower investment returns and higher costs. Shares in IAG (ASX:IAG) is trading 0.6 per cent higher at $5.32.
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) expects to begin selling its major US properties from 2022 following the severe restrictions from the Covid-19 pandemic. 2020 saw only 70 normal trading days and 93 days with the centres effectively closed. Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marie Tritant, says “with restrictions in place across almost all of our markets we have realistic expectations for 2021 but are encouraged by the way footfall and sales bounced back strongly whenever restrictions were eased or lifted last year”. He said the company will not pay a dividend again until 2023. Shares in Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) is trading 4.1 per cent lower at $4.64.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Materials gaining 0.1 per cent while the worst performing sector is Information Technology shedding 1.7 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) rising 5.3 per cent to $26.53, followed by shares in Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is AMP (ASX:AMP) dropping 9.1 per cent followed by shares in Nanosonics (ASX:NAN) and Nearmap (ASX:NEA).
Gold is trading at US$1,842 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.7 per cent higher at US$166.90.
Its futures are suggesting a rise of 2.4 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.14 US cents.