Westpac drops 6%, AusNet lifts on $10.2b buyout: ASX up 0.5% at noon

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australia sharemarket is lifting higher this morning with nearly all sectors in front, despite banks weighing on the index. At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.5 per cent or 36.5 points higher at 7360.2. The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 50 points.

All sectors are in the green except financials, down 0.9 per cent. Communication services are the highest, up 2 per cent, followed by utilities, up 1.9 per cent, then consumer discretionary, up 1.8 per cent. Technology and industrials are next, both up 1.7 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Orocobre (ASX:ORE), trading 5.6 per cent higher. The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Westpac (ASX:WBC), trading 6.1 per cent lower following its $3.5 billion buy-back and a $5.35 billion cash profit for the 2021 financial year, which did not meet expectations.

Travel stocks are pushing ahead, with Qantas (ASX:QAN) up 4.5 per cent and Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) up 2.9 per cent. Domino's Pizza (ASX:DMP) is up 3.4 per cent and health supplements company Blackmores (ASX:BKL) is up 5 per cent. Tech stocks are also helping the ASX lift, with WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) up 4.8 per cent and Codan (ASX:CDA) up 5.4 per cent. Asset manager Janus Henderson (ASX:JHG) is trading 5.5 per cent higher and real estate advertiser REA Group (ASX:REA) is trading 3.2 per cent higher.

Health giants CSL (ASX:CSL) and Sonic (ASX:SHL) are up 1.8 and 1.7 per cent. Heavyweight miners Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and BHP (ASX:BHP) are down as iron ore prices trade lower, while Fortescue (ASX:FMG) is up 1.4 per cent and Mineral resources (ASX:MIN) is up 1.5 per cent. Energy suppliers Santos (ASX:SOH) and Oil Search (ASX:OSH) are up 1.1 and 1.6 per cent. Major banks are down, except Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) up 0.8 per cent. 

In headlines, electricity operator AusNet (ASX:AST) is up 4.2 per cent after entering a scheme implemtation deed with Brookfield, who upped its offer to get in front of APA Group. APA (ASX:APA) are trading 2.9 per cent higher. 

Local economic news 

CoreLogic home value index for October was released. Australian housing values rose 1.5 per cent in October, a similar result to August and September. However, taking the monthly change out another decimal point shows the market is continuing to slowly lose momentum since moving through a peak monthly rate of growth in March (2.8 per cent). Nationally, the monthly growth rate eased to 1.49 per cent in October from 1.51 per cent in the previous month.
 
Australian Bureau of Statistics released their lending indicators for September. New loan commitments fell 1.4 per cent for housing, rose 0.4 per cent for personal fixed term loans and rose 13 per cent for business construction (typically a volatile series).

The IHS Markit purchasing managers index for manufacturing rose from 56.8 to 58.2 in October. 

Company news 

Westpac (ASX:WBC) has recorded cash profit of $5.35 billion for the 2021 financial year and announced a $3.5 billion off market buy-back.

Electricity operator AusNet (ASX:AST) has entered into a scheme implementation deed with Brookfield after agreeing to its $10.2 billion bid. 

IPO

Step One Clothing (ASX:STP) started trading today. Their shares issued at $1.53, started trading at $2.70 and are currently at $2.67.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Communication Services, up almost 2 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Financials, down 0.9 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Orocobre (ASX:ORE), trading 5.6 per cent higher at $9.40. It is followed by shares in Janus Henderson Group (ASX:JHG) and Codan (ASX:CDA).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC), trading 6.1 per cent lower at $24.09. It is followed by shares in ResMed (ASX:RMD) and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1781.38 an ounce.
Iron ore is 4.8 per cent lower at US$107.28 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 4.1 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 75.10 US cents.

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