Annual wage growth remains at 1.4%: ASX 0.4% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market opened lower following mixed leads from Wall Street and is now tracking 0.4 per cent lower at noon, that’s 29 points down at 6,810. On the futures market the SPI is suggesting a 36 points fall. Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA) shares are up after they reported profit after tax was up 154 per cent on the last half.

Local economic news

Annual wage growth has remained steady at the historically low rate of 1.4 per cent ahead of expectations.

Meanwhile in construction, the seasonally adjusted estimate for total work done fell 0.9 per cent in the December quarter. Building work done rose 0.6 per cent.

Broker moves

Credit Suisse rates Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN) as a Downgrade to a Neutral from a Outperform. They note that since their November update, store closures in some locations have been extended along with short lockdowns in Australia and New Zealand. Despite this, the broker does not expect any material detraction from the company's first-half profit trajectory. Target price is $5.36. Shares in Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN) are currently 1.7 per cent lower at $5.26.

Company news

Eagers Automotive (ASX:APE) has appointed the current Chief Operating Officer Keith Thornton as Chief Executive Officer, effective today. He has been with the company for 18 years. After 16 years as CEO, Martin Ward will transition from his current position to a new role as Advisor to the Board and CEO. The company report today their full year net profit after tax is up at $156.2 million, from a loss of $139.6 million a year ago. Shares in Eagers Automotive (ASX:APE) are trading 7.5 per cent lower at $12.24.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Consumer Staples, adding 0.7 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Communication Services, shedding 2.3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is IDP Education (ASX:IEL), rising 11.9 per cent to $47.84, followed by shares in Blackmores (ASX:BKL) and Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Nanosonics (ASX:NAN),dropping 8.8 per cent to $5.52, followed by shares in Appen (ASX:APX) and AP Eagers (ASX:APE).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,810 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 1.7 per cent to US$173.05.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.2 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 79.37. US cents.

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