Aussie shares have started the final day of trade before Christmas on a high note with the ASX 200 opening 15pts higher and have continued on those gains towards lunch with a 21pt or 0.35% gain towards lunch. The main index is currently 1.4% higher for the week.
Most sectors are pushing higher with gains led by the energy, mining and banking stocks. Energy stocks are benefitting from Brent crude rising to its best levels since 2015. Santos (STO) is 1.5% higher while Oil Search is lifting 2%. The major banks are recovering from yesterday’s losses with Commonwealth Bank (CBA) the best of the big four, up 1%. Westpac (WBC) is paying out its final dividend today of $0.94/share. Consumer staples ad Telcos are weighing on the market most.
BHP has agreed to fund up to US$181 million in financial support to several foundations in the aftermath of the Samarco Dam failure in Brazil during November 2015. US$133 million will be used to undertake remediation and compensation programs and the remaining amount to be used for repairs and maintenance to the Samarco facility. BHP shares are 1.2% higher.
Wesfarmers (WES) continues to review its Resources business after the owner of Coles agreed to sell its Curragh coal mine in Queensland to a US coal mining firm Coronado for $700 million. The sale requires approval from the foreign investment review board with WES is expecting a post-tax profit of $100 million on completion of the sale. WES shares are 0.75% lower at lunch.
Retirement village operator, Aveo Group (AOG) is lifting 4.7%, announcing after market yesterday that it is selling its Gasworks Plaza complex in Brisbane to AMP Capital for $248.4 million. The sale is expected to settle over the course of 2018 and the company stated it will generate a surplus of $61 million or a $0.11 per share increase in net tangible assets (NTA).
The Aussie dollar has continued its recent strength against the greenback, trading at US77.05 cents. Volume today has seen 1.6B units traded worth $3.5B with 535 stocks higher, 448 lower and 372 unchanged.
Originally published by CommSec