Local shares are making up some of last week’s losses and starting the trading weak higher, thanks to a strong lead from US markets over the weekend with the US reporting season kicking off. Back home, the ASX 200 was up 0.5% at the best levels in the morning but has come down to trade 8pts or 0.15% higher towards lunch.
Gains have been led by mining stocks with base metal and gold prices rising in weekend trade. Our major miners all lifting with Australia’s largest miner BHP is up 1% while RioTinto (RIO) is lifting 0.8%. South32 (S32), which spun off from BHP in 2015, is 3% higher. Gold stocks have seen some of the biggest gains with gold miners Evolution Mining (EVN) up 4% and Northern Star (NST) gaining 2.5%. Perseus Mining (PRU) is surging 8.3% as the gold miner begins gold production ahead of schedule at its Sissingue mine in the Ivory Coast. PRU is expecting full scale production at the mill by end of Mach 2018.
Financials were supporting market gains in early trade but has slipped with three of the big four banks now lower, only ANZ Bank (ANZ) is higher by 0.4%. Weakness in IT and Telcos are weighing on the broader market. Telstra is 0.8% weaker but Vocus Group (VOC) is 1.1% higher after announcing a change in structure for the company. VOC is separating the Enterprise & Wholesale segment of the Vocus Australia business into two operating segments as part of the Company’s accelerated transformation program.
There is no major economic data to be released today but a raft of key economic indicators are due for release later in the week, including measures of lending and consumer confidence as well the monthly job data.
The Aussie dollar continues to rise against the US dollar trading around its best levels since late September last year, at 79.35 US cents.
So far, 2.7B units have been traded worth $1.7B with 685 stocks higher, 442 lower and 393 unchanged.
For a look at how the local sharemarket performed over the past year, and the factors which could impact global markets over 2018, visit our Year Ahead website.
Originally published by CommSec