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Aussie shares are off to a better start on Monday, with the ASX 200 up 0.4 per cent thanks to solid gains across most sectors and a positive lead from the Dow Jones Friday. While US equities gave back most of their gains in late trade following news of indictments of 13 Russians linked with election meddling, the Dow held on to modest gains to lift for a sixth day and recouped ~80 per cent of the prior week’s losses.
For those trading global markets, keep in mind the Lunar New Year celebrations are continuing which means Chinese markets will remain shut until Wednesday. US markets will be closed tonight for the Washington’s Birthday public holiday.
Overall 10 of 12 sectors are lifting in Australia at the moment, with ~80 per cent of stocks in positive territory.
Three companies have been holding the market back most so far on Monday. This includes Woodside (WPL) which is down 6 per cent after coming back online following a capital raising. The energy group has successfully raised $1.57bn in an institutional equity raising aimed at funding its purchase of Exxon’s stake in a gas field. BHP Billiton (BHP) is down 0.7 per cent ahead of its results due tomorrow while South32 (S32) remains under pressure following its disappointing results last week.
Week four of the earnings season has kicked off with companies like Woolworths (WOW) and Qantas (QAN) due to post results in coming days. Brambles (BXB), Invocare (IVC), Star Group (SGR) are under pressure following their results while Seek (SEK), nib (NHF), Domain (DHG), Beach Energy (BPT) and Ooh!Media (OML) are lifting following their updates.
Brambles (BXB) is down by 1.5 per cent following a modest 1 per cent lift in underlying earnings to US$493.7m for the logistics company. First half profit tripled to US$447m after receiving a US$130.1m boost from changes to the US tax system.
Seek (SEK) is up 2 per cent following a solid 31 per cent lift in half year net profit to $102m led by its Australia and New Zealand business. Its international business continues to grow at a slower pace due to challenging conditions in its Latin American businesses.
1.3bn shares have changed hands this morning worth $2.1bn. 609 stocks are up, 445 down and 343 are flat.
In focus this week will be the December quarter data on wages growth this Wednesday. A miss or beat in the market’s expectations could spark inflation and interest rate speculation.
Published by CommSec