The stock market has dropped further in the past 20 minutes and is currently down 37.7 points to 6321, a decline of 0.6 per cent. It appears to be driven by major mining companies with the materials sector now down 1.1 per cent.
BHP has dropped from $37.50 to $37.30 since 10.45am, and Rio Tinto dropped from $96.60 to $96.08 in the same time period.
Nine Entertainment is up 2 per cent to $1.77 after announcing it has sold the Australian Community Media business to former chief executive of Domain, Anthony Catalano, and former Fairfax shareholder, Alex Waislitz of Thorney Investments. Nine publishes this blog.
The sale was for $115 million in cash, with $10 million of this sum to be paid in 12 months time. An additional $10 million in advertising for Nine across the news titles is included in the deal, over three years.
Some of the titles included in the deal are The Canberra Times, The Newcastle Herald, The Examiner, The Border Mail, The Courier and the Illawarra Mercury, and agricultural titles The Land, Queensland Country Life and Stock & Land. Last week, Mr Catalano said The Canberra Times should be producing its own political coverage and the titles needed someone who would «get in there and invest».
Nine is next expected to move quickly on plans to acquire the remaining shares it doesn’t own in radio network Macquarie Media, home to Alan Jones and Ray Hadley on 2GB and Melbourne’s 3AW. Macquarie Media shares are very tightly held with Nine owning 54.44 per cent (thanks to its purchase of Fairfax Media) and John Singleton owning 32.33 per cent. Shares last traded at $1.75 and reached a high point of $2.18 in August 2018. At this price it would cost $136.5 million for Nine to purchase the 45.6 per cent of the company it does not own.
Shares in Seven Group Holdings are up nearly 3 per cent to $19.75 after it upgraded its full year guidance yesterday afternoon.
«The underlying strength of SGH’s three strategic growth drivers (mining production, infrastructure investment and domestic energy), has resulted in improved revenue and profit for the Group,» it told the market after trading finished on Monday.
It now expects underlying earnings before interest and tax to be up 40 per cent higher than last year, compared to previous guidance of a 25 per cent increase. Earnings in 2017-18 were $496.9 million.
A potential decline in the WesTrac business in the second half of 2018-19 has not eventuated, however Coates Hire has been affected by floods and wet weather in Queensland delaying projects.
The new guidance suggests pre-tax earnings will be about $700 million.
JB Hi-Fi has reaffirmed its guidance for profit to grow by between 1.6 per cent and 5.1 per cent this year, even as sales slow significantly at its flagship brand. The consumer electronics retailer said on Tuesday that comparable sales at its Australian JB Hi-Fi stores grew at 1.5 per cent in the third quarter, compared to 4.3 per cent growth in the same quarter last year.
That brought sales growth for the year to date to 2.7 per cent — compared to 6.7 per cent in the period a year earlier. Sales had rebounded at its Good Guys chain however, to 1.3 per cent for the year to date, from 0.3 per cent last year. JB reaffirmed guidance given in February for its net profit to between $237 million and $245 million.
The company’s shares were down 1 per cent in early trading to $25.58.
Virgin Australia has deferred delivery of the first jets in an order of 48 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, amid ongoing uncertainty around the scandal-plagued plane and as the airline tries to improve its own financial performance. The airline was due to receive its first 737 MAX 8 aircraft in November to start renewing its domestic fleet, but on Tuesday said Boeing had agreed to push delivery back to July 2021.
Boeing’s new series of aircraft have been grounded globally since March following two fatal crashes involving MAX 8 planes, in Indonesia and Ethiopia, in the past six months that killed 346 people. Virgin said it was also converting the first 15 jets in its order from 737 MAX 8 aircraft to the larger MAX 10s model, which is not yet in service. That means it won’t receive any MAX 8s until 2025.
Virgin shares are down 1.3 per cent to 18.25 cents compared to a broader market decline of 0.3 per cent this morning.
Novatti says it processed $2 million in payments in the three months to the end of March, it tells the market this morning in an optimistic quarterly update.
It executed agreements with 14 partners including ePay for Wechat Pay, SendFX, OpenDNA.
«Novatti aims to maintain its recent cadence of signing 8-12 agreements per quarter that support the ongoing growth in the transaction volume and related fees,» it says.
«Novatti expects continued engagement with APRA during the current quarter and as APRA reviews Novatti’s bank licence application. In parallel, Novatti’s banking services team is continuing to prepare for launch assuming a successful application.»
Novatti shares are trading at 22 cents.
The S&P/ASX 200 has dropped 22 points on opening to 6337, a rapid fall of 0.3 per cent.
Communications and real estate stocks are currently under-performing, while information technology is up 0.4 per cent and consumer staples are up 0.3 per cent.
Super Retail Group is up 4.7 per cent to $8.81 and Seven Group is up 3.5 per cent to $19.66.
Shares in online real estate company Domain Holdings dropped by 7.8 per cent in early trading to $2.69 after it revealed sale listings fell 13 per cent in the first half and revenue is down 6 per cent for the three months from December to March. Online revenue is flat. The company released a trading update as part of its presentation to the Macquarie Australia Conference.
Total new market listings fell as auction volumes across Sydney fell 30 per cent and by 36 per cent in Melbourne. Meanwhile costs are expected to increase by «low single digit» against proforma 2017-18 and are lower than previously advised.
Fellow online real estate company REA Group is also lagging, currently down 5 per cent to $76.46. Domain is now trading at $2.72.
Vocus Group has been served with legal papers regarding a shareholder class action. Slater & Gordon filed the action on behalf of people who bought shares between 29 November 2016 and 2 May 2017.
«The statement of claim includes allegations of contraventions of the Corporations Act 2001 in relation to misleading or deceptive conduct and continuous disclosure obligations in respect of Vocus 2016-17 earnings guidance,» Vocus tells the market this morning.
The class action is being funded by three funders; Investor Claim Partner, ICP Capital, and Woodsford Litigation Funding. This class action was first announced in 2017 and revolves around claims that Vocus overstated its guidance for 2016-17 as it worked to integrate the Amcom and Nextgen Networks, and to merge with M2 Group.
Vocus shares last traded at $3.97
Former Domain chief executive Antony Catalano and billionaire Alex Waislitz’s Thorney Investment Group have bought 170 regional and country newspapers from Nine Entertainment Co for $115 million in cash. Nine announced the deal for its Australian Community Media publishing business and printing to the Australian Stock Exchange on Tuesday morning, with the sale to be completed by June 30. Nine is the owner of this masthead.
The sale was for $115 million in cash, which is subject to adjustments after the sale completes, with $10 million of this sum to be paid in 12 months time. An additional $10 million in advertising for Nine across the news titles is included in the deal, over three years. Some of the titles in the deal include The Canberra Times, The Newcastle Herald, The Examiner, The Border Mail, The Courier and the Illawarra Mercury, and agricultural titles The Land, Queensland Country Life and Stock & Land.
Story by Jennifer Duke will be online soon.