Aussie shares are slipping for a second day, with the ASX 200 index down by 0.3 per cent at lunch on geopolitical tension in the Middle East. Last night, US markets fell by almost 1 per cent on worries of military action by the US in Syria. President Trump tweeted that Russia should get ready because missiles “…will be coming, nice and new and smart!” towards its ally, Syria. Around an hour later the President followed up by saying America’s “…relationship with Russia is worse now than it has ever been”.
Early this morning, the Federal Reserve’s minutes have reinforced economist’s views that further rate hikes will be coming in 2018. The minutes noted that “all participants” expected the American economy and inflation to pick up in coming months.
Mining stocks are standing out today with gains in most commodities. This includes a 2 per cent surge in oil which hit a three-year high on tension in the Middle East while gold and base metals were firmer as well. The exception was iron ore which slumped by 2.5 per cent to $65.2/t. Keep in mind that this follows a 4.5 per cent surge in iron ore prices over the prior three sessions.
$1.5bn will be paid out in dividends to investors mostly from Rio Tinto (RIO), Qantas (QAN), Cochlear (COH) and Brambles (BXB).
Bubs (BUB) is up 7 per cent after the baby food supplier delivered a 422 per cent surge in 3Q sales to $5.2m compared to a year ago. The purchase of goat milk products maker, Nulac Foods in Nov helped. Sales of goat milk infant formula rose by 63 per cent while sales to China are up 55 per cent.
Godfrey’s (GFY) is up for a third day and has improved by 45 per cent this week. This follows a ~$13m bid launched by its 99- year old co-founder on Monday. The retailer’s shares have slumped by ~90 per cent since making its ASX debut in 2014.
Michael Hill (MHJ) said its decision to close stores in the US (which were loss-making) is going to cost about US$4.5m (A$6m). This includes the termination of leases and employee severance costs. As a group, MHJ’s total operations posted a 4.5 per cent lift in sales, thanks partly to the opening of 16 new stores over the nine months to 31 Mar 18.
oOh!media (OML) confirmed its takeover bid for media company HT&E has been rejected for being too low.
1.6bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $2bn. 428 stocks are up, 560 are down and 333 are flat.
Published by CommSec