Australian shares are off to a better start on Tuesday thanks to worries over a trade war between the US and China easing (for now) overnight. The ASX 200 is up 0.5 per cent, lifting for the first time in four days and bouncing off five week lows hit in recent days.
Despite today’s gains, local equities remain on track to have their worst month in more than two years with just days remaining this holiday shortened week.
Worries over a trade war between the US and China have eased for now thanks to signs progress is being made by both superpowers conducting talks to avert a trade war. This helped push US shares up by 2.8 per cent overnight (best day in two and a half years). This recoups half last week’s near 6 per cent tumble (worst week in more than two years). Progress (or lack of any) in coming days relating to trade tariffs will likely remain a driver of markets.
All sectors are improving at lunch with gains ~0.5 per cent for most major areas of the market.
While most of the miners are rallying at lunch, Fortescue Metals (FMG) is under pressure after cutting its expectations for iron ore prices it will receive over the year. It has blamed this on subdued construction activity in China, a temporary extension of production cuts in China due to pollution and concerns of trade tensions.
Newcrest (NCM) said it will restart mining at Cadia a little over a fortnight after suspending its mining operations at the site. This followed an issue with its tailings dam (which collects mining waste material). NCM said “…it remains too early for guidance to be updated”. NCM shares are down 1.3 per cent.
More than $10bn in dividends will be paid to investors this holiday shortened week with more than $2bn being paid out just today. BHP Billiton (BHP) will pay out the lion’s share of today’s payments ($0.705/share), followed by Primary Health (PRY) paying a $0.051 dividend and $0.175 by Challenger (CGF).
Webjet (WEB), SG Fleet (SGF), Pacific Energy (PEA), Northern Star (NST), Iluka (ILU), Japara (JHC) and Link (LNK) are all ex-dividend today.
1.8bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $1.7bn. 683 stocks are up, 345 down and 368 are flat.
Published by CommSec