Westpac to sell NZ life business for $373m: ASX up 0.2% at noon

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket has been in positive territory this morning, trading 0.16 per cent or 11.90 points higher at 7326.90. The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 15 points.

Energy has been the best performing sector, 2.13 per cent higher while Communications Services is down 0.90 per cent.

All four major banks are in the green. Westpac (ASX:WBC) is trading 0.63 per cent higher, following its announcement of the company selling their New Zealand life insurance to Fidelity life insurance for $373 million.

EML Payments (ASX:EML) is up 4.93 per cent as the best performing stock. Appen (ASX:APX), is down 4.8 per cent as the worst performing stock. 

HomeCo Daily Needs (ASX:HDN) made headlines this morning, trading 2.68 per cent lower following its news regarding the completion of their placement, to raise $70 million for Town Centre Victoria Point shopping centre in Queensland. Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) also got a mention, trading 1.28 per cent higher following the announcement of securing a drilling rig for the conventional gas exploration well in Western Australia.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will finalise a decision on the interest rates later today.

NSW records 18 new COVID-19 cases, one local case in Queensland and no new locally acquired cases in Victoria.

Local economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released their ‘payroll jobs and wages in Australia’ figures for the first half of June. Payroll jobs rose by 0.3 per cent nationally in the fortnight to 19 June 2021, following a 0.8 per cent fall in the previous fortnight. Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said, “payroll jobs increased in every state and territory through the first half of June, ranging from 0.1 per cent in New South Wales and Western Australia to 0.6 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory. Payroll jobs in Victoria rose by 0.4 per cent in the fortnight to 19 June 2021, as the restrictions associated with its recent lockdown eased. This followed a fall of 2.1 per cent in the previous fortnight."

Company news

Westpac (ASX:WBC) has announced that it has agreed with Fidelity Life Assurance Company to sell Westpac Life New Zealand and enter into an exclusive 15-year agreement for the distribution of life insurance products to Westpac’s New Zealand customers. The sale price of $373 million is expected to result in a post-tax gain on sale and add approximately 7 basis points to Westpac Group’s common equity tier 1 capital ratio.

HMC Funds Management (HMC), as responsible entity for HomeCo Daily Needs REIT (ASX:HDN), has announced the successful completion of the underwritten institutional placement announced on Monday, raising approximately $70 million through issuing around 48.3 million new ordinary units in HomeCo at an issue price of $1.45 per unit. The proceeds from the placement will be used to fund the acquisition of a 100% interest in the Town Centre Victoria Point shopping centre, located in Queensland.

Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) has announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Energy Resources (ERL) has secured a drilling rig for the conventional gas exploration well Lockyer Deep 1, situated in the onshore Perth Basin, Western Australia.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy, up 2.13 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Communication Services, down 0.90 per cent.

The best-performing stock is EML Payments (ASX:EML), trading 4.93 per cent higher at $3.73. It is followed by shares in Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) and IGO (ASX:IGO).

The worst-performing stock is Appen (ASX:APX), trading 4.8 per cent lower at $12.33. It is followed by shares in Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS) and PolyNovo (ASX:PNV).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1796.06 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.80 per cent higher at US$221.82 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 3.38 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.51 US cents.

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