Flight Centre soars 7.9%, API jumps 4.8% on rival bid: ASX up 0.9% at noon

The Australian sharemarket has started the week on a positive note thanks to iron ore, energy and travel stocks. At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.9 per cent or 65.5 points higher at 7408.1. The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 73 points.

Across the sectors, nine out of eleven are in the black. Energy is adding the most, up 2.1 per cent. Materials are behind them, up 1.5 per cent, then financials, up 1.2 per cent. Health care is the worst performer, down 0.3 per cent, with technology edging 0.1 per cent lower. 

The best-performing stock is Flight Centre (ASX:FLT), trading 7.9 per cent higher with Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN) up 3.7 per cent and Webjet (ASX:WEB) up 4.9 per cent, as Covid-19 vaccination rates climb and easing of restrictions in sight. The worst-performing stock is Nextdc (ASX:NXT), trading 2.9 per cent lower. 

Oil stocks are helping the ASX lift, with Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) up 3.1 per cent, Santos (ASX:STO) up 2.4 per cent and Oil Search (ASX:OSH) up 2.2 per cent. Iron ore prices are 2.4 per cent higher, pushing the mining giants Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) up 5.1 per cent, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) up 2.3 per cent and BHP (ASX:BHP) up 1.2 per cent. Major banks are higher, with Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) leading, up 2.1 per cent.

In headlines this morning, Sigma Healthcare has launched a rival bid to Australian Pharmaceutical Industries, weeks after Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) proposed a take-over bid. Sigma (ASX:SIG) is trading 3.4 per cent higher while Australian Pharameutical Industries (ASX:API) is trading 4.8 per cent higher. 

IPO

Pacific Edge (ASX:PEB) has joined the ASX today. The shares are trading 16 per cent higher to $1.52.

Company news

Ampol (ASX:ALD) has been given another 2 weeks to settle its take-over deal with New Zealand’s fuel distribution and retailing company Z Energy (ASX:ZEL).

Pharmacy wholesaler’s Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) and Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API) are in talk about a potential merger, weeks after Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) proposed a take-over bid to API.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy, up 2.1 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Health Care, down 0.3 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Flight Centre Travel Group (ASX:FLT), trading 7.9 per cent higher at $21.36. It is followed by shares in IOOF Holdings (ASX:IFL) and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Nextdc (ASX:NXT), trading 2.9 per cent lower at $13.18. It is followed by shares in Megaport (ASX:MP1) and GrainCorp (ASX:GNC).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1759.02 an ounce.
Iron ore is 2.4 per cent higher at US$111.33 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 3.9 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.88 US cents.