Local shares are rallying for a second straight session on a number of global factors. The ASX 200 is has gained another 0.55% or 32 points, following on from yesterday’s 0.7% gain, to trade at 5973 points. Overnight, US President Donald Trump announced details of the tariffs on steel and aluminium imports with US markets rising after Canada and Mexico, two or the US major trading partners in the metals, were confirmed as exempt. This morning, it has been announced that North Korean leader Kim and President Trump agreeing to meet later in the year to discuss NorthKorea’s nuclear program which has lifted market sentiment.
Gains have been mostly across the board with only the energy sector in the red towards lunch while materials are flat. Weakness in crude oil and metals prices in US trade overnight has weighed on both sectors in local trade. Major miners BHP Biliton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are both 0.3% lower while Bluescope Steel (BSL) has dipped 1.4%. Major oil and energy producers are weaker between 0.5% to 1.5% with Oil Search (OSH) and Origin Energy (ORG) the biggest decliners in the sector.
Lifting the market are financials with the major four banks all higher, led by Commonwealth bank’s (CBA) 0.9% improvement. Consumer staples are contributing to gains with a near 3% lift in Treasury Wine Estate (TWE) and major supermarkets Woolies (WOW) and Wesfarmers (WES), owner of Coles, around 0.5% higher each.
Myer (MYR) shares have slid 5% so far after the department store has dropped out of the ASX 200 index following a sharp drop in its share price over the last 15 months. The major Australian indices are reviewed every quarter. In addition to Myer’s removal, Media firm HT&E Ltd (HT1) and Australian Agricultural Company (AAC) have also been removed with Bellamy’s (BAL), Xero Ltd (XRO) and Ausdrill (ASL) added to the top 200 ASX stocks. The changes will be effective March 19 2018.
No major economic data is due out in Australia today however Chinese inflation data has come through with mixed results. Consumer prices beat expectations, lifting 2.9% yoy while producer prices were a bit weaker than expected. The Aussie dollar is currently trading around 77.8 US cents. So far, 1.6B units have been traded worth $2.2B with 602 stocks higher, 417 lower and 369 unchanged.
Published by CommSec