Gains in property and consumer staples: ASX trading 0.34% higher at noon

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by Melissa Darmawan

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The ASX see-sawed in early trade with the index rising 0.5 per cent higher at the open. The index then moved up and down though mostly staying in positive territory following the positive lead from the US. Stocks linked to the reopening of the economy are leading the charge with the Property sector and Consumer staples sector advancing. Shopping centre stocks Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) is up 3.8 per cent while Vicinity (ASX:VCX) added 3.6 per cent followed by Stockland (ASX: SGP). Banks are up with the likes of CBA (ASX:CBA) up 0.7 per cent outperforming its peers. Heavyweight miners BHP (ASX:BHP) and RIO (ASX:RIO) have dipped into the red, down 0.08 - 0.25 per cent respectively. AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) fell to 2.4 per cent following the CEO resigning effectively immediately. Online marketplace company Redbubble (ASX:RBL) tumbled 18 per cent following their trading update.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.34 per cent or 23.70 points higher at 7021.20.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 15 points.

Local economic news

NAB business survey reported a notable improvement in the business sector. Business conditions and confidence strengthened in the quarter with all sub indices improving substantially. These include profitability, trading and employment which are now into expansion phase.

According to Alan Oster, NAB Group Chief Economist “The survey suggests that the economic recovery built further momentum in Q1.”.He also said “it is worth remembering that conditions provide a guide as to how fast activity is growing, but capacity utilisation provides an indication of the level of activity. In this quarter we hit an important milestone; not only does it appear that activity continues to grow at a good pace, but the capacity utilisation index now suggests that the level of activity is back around its pre-COVID level. This is consistent with our forecast that GDP will have fully recovered in Q1.”

Company news

Join us at “Stocks of the Hour” https://www.finnewsnetwork.com.au/archives/finance_news_network338401.html

AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) announces Managing Director & CEO, Brett Redman has resigned after being in role for 2.5 years.Current Chairman, Graeme Hunt has been appointed as interim managing director & CEO effective immediately and will step down as Chairman. Former Oil Search executive Peter Botten has been appointed as Chairman to start immediately

Adelaide-based OZ Minerals (ASX:OZL) has reported a surge in the copper and gold divisions’ productivity in the mining player’s latest financial update.

Payment solutions innovator Splitit (ASX:SPT) has announced the launch of a new instalments payment service named Plus for the US merchant market.

Biotech company Chimeric Therapeutics (ASX:CHM) reports another successful update on their phase 1 clinical trial in the City of Hope hospital in California, USA which is a cancer research and treatment centre. Patients from the first cohort have moved beyond the 28-day follow up period, without experiencing any side effects from their dose. This comes after their completion of the trial to evaluate the safety and maximum dose of chlorotoxin CAR T in patients with a brain tumour last month.

Gold miner Regis Resources (ASX:RRL) has received the go-head from Tropicana gold mine joint-owner AngloGold Ashanti (ASX:AGG) to purchase IGO’s 30 per cent interest in the asset.

Broker moves

Citi has downgraded Pilbara minerals (ASX:PLS) as a sell from a neutral with a maintained target price of $1.10 after the share price soared 25 per cent since mid-February. Due to this, the price is now calculated to be trading ahead of the underlying valuation. In the March quarter, lithium-concentrate shipments missed expectations largely due to a fire on an inbound cargo vessel at berth that pushed 11.5kt of shipment into April. The costs increased quarter on quarter due to the stronger Australian dollar and higher freight charges. Shares in Pilbara minerals (ASX:PLS) are trading 7.2 per lower at $1.16.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trusts, up 1.59 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Energy, down 0.96 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Megaport (ASX:MP1), trading 7.61 per cent higher at $12.59. It is followed by shares in Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) and Deterra (ASX:DRR).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Redbubble (ASX:RBL), trading 17.79 per cent lower at $4.53. It is followed by shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1795.22 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.56 US cents.
Iron ore is 0.70 per cent lower at US$188.23 a ton.
Iron ore futures are flat.  

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