Housing market shows sign of cooling boom, RBA decision at 2.30pm: ASX trading 0.4% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Aussie sharemarket has opened higher led by gains in technology shares followed by utilities and consumer discretionary, while materials weigh ahead of the RBA meeting outcome this afternoon.

There have been a number of companies reporting updates as they await fresh economic data. This followed after Wall St surged to session highs closing the final day higher after a turbulent month.

In M&A’s, US payments giant Block has completed its scheme of arrangement to buy Aussie buy now, pay later darling Afterpay, with former Afterpay Sharon Rothstein to join Block's board. Shares in Block (ASX:SQ2) are trading 8 per cent higher at $174.34.

Healius (ASX:HLS) has also completed the acquisition of all of the issued capital of bioanalytical firm Agilex Biolabs valued at $301.3 million. Shares are trading 0.1 per cent lower at $4.44.

Humm Group (ASX:HUM) are still in talks with Latitude Financial about the potential sale of Humm's BNPL, installment and credit card operations. Shares are trading 1.8 per cent higher at $0.85.

Ramsay Health Care (ASX:RHC) has completed its $1.4 billion purchase of UK-based mental healthcare provider Elysium Healthcare, announced in December. Ramsay said the acquisition is slated to provide a leg into the growing UK mental health hospital market with opportunities for both organic and inorganic growth. Shares are trading 0.8 per cent higher at $63.32.

Credit Corp (ASX:CCP) has upgraded its guidance after a strong first half result, driven by a step up in US purchased debt ledger (PDL) and its acquisition of Radio Rentals. The company’s net profit after tax grew 8 per cent to $45.7 million for the half. Shares are trading 5 per cent higher at $35.60.

Building business Boral (ASX:BLD) has announced a $3 billion return of surplus capital to shareholders following the sale of two divestments. Boral is set to pay a special dividend of $2.72 per share via a $2.65 per share capital reduction and a 7 cents per share unfranked dividend. Shares are trading 5.8 per cent higher at $6.21.

Meanwhile, Centuria Industrial REIT (ASX:CIP) posted its statutory profit growth to $308.1 million in the first half of financial year 2022 after including a $256.7 million increase on revaluation of its property assets for the six months. Shares are trading 2.9 per cent higher at $3.91.

Banks are mixed with Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA) down 0.3 per cent at $93.51, while Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) is leading the gains, up 3.3 per cent at $189.72, National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) is trading 1.4 per cent higher at $27.52, Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) is fetching 0.4 more at $20.39, while shares in ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) are eking out a 0.08 per cent gain at $26.55.

BHP Group (ASX:BHP) shares are leading the declines in the iron ore players, trading 2.5 per cent lower at $45.19, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) is down 1.7 per cent at $109.71, while Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) are trading 0.6 per cent lower at $19.75.

Energy stocks are mixed with Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) is up 0.8 per cent at $1.49, Santos (ASX:STO) gained 0.2 per cent at $7.16, while Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) is trading 0.4 per cent lower at $24.98. 

Gold stocks are ahead led by Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) adding 2.8 per cent at $22.15, Northern Star (ASX:NST) is up 1.5 per cent at $8.41, while Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) is trading 0.9 per cent higher at $3.53.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.4 per cent or 29 points higher at 7,000.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 20 points.

Local economic news

Home values rose 1.1 per cent on average in January, up 10 basis points on December’s monthly gain as per CoreLogic. Five of the eight capital cities recorded a modest uptick in the monthly rate of growth, including Melbourne, which had posted a slight decline in values in the previous month. However, the quarterly change continued to soften, reflecting the longer-term trend of slowing growth across most regions of Australia. The annual change in national housing values reached a new cyclical high in January, with Australian dwellings up 22.4 per cent over the year, the highest annual rate of growth since June 1989.

New loan commitments for housing rose 4.4 per cent to a record high value of $32.8 billion, seasonally adjusted in December 2021, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. December’s rise was driven by a 5.3 per cent rise in the value of new owner-occupier loan commitments. This is the second consecutive monthly rise in owner-occupier lending and follows the falls seen from June 2021 through to October 2021.

Australian retail turnover fell 4.4 per cent in December 2021, seasonally adjusted, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The December result follows consecutive rises of 7.3 per cent in November 2021, 4.9 per cent in October 2021, and 1.3 per cent in September 2021.

Consumer confidence rose 1.7 per cent in the past week as per ANZ-Roy Morgan.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information Technology, up 3 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Materials, down 0.9 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is PointsBet Holdings (ASX:PBH), trading 8.4 per cent higher at $5.27. It is followed by shares in Block (ASX:SQ2) and Zip Co (ASX:Z1P).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR), trading 2.6 per cent lower at $1.29. It is followed by shares in BHP Group (ASX:BHP) and Worley (ASX:WOR).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1797.61 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.68 US cents.
Iron ore is 4.2 per cent lower at US$141.75 a ton.

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