Aussie shares are lifting for a third day on Tuesday, with the ASX 200 up 0.16 per cent following a positive lead from Wall Street overnight. While the local market is in its third consecutive week of gains, it has had a habit of losing momentum most afternoons which is a sign investors are not enthusiastic in their buying.
While plenty of risks are still lurking in the background, they have been brushed to one side for the time being. It seems that the perceived risk of repeated strikes by the West on Syria have died down, President Trump talked down the likelihood of additional sanctions on Russia and US-China trade tensions have not been a major concern in recent days. Any of the above concerns could certainly return as worries for markets in coming days and weeks.
The Bank of Queensland (BOQ) is down by ~1.75 per cent and is the worst of the banks following its first half results. Revenue, profit and its dividend all fell short of Bloomberg estimates. Cash profit rose by 4 per cent to $182m while the 38c dividend was steady on last year. The BOQ has joined many other banks in its decision to sell its life insurance business. AMP is a weight on the financials and is down 2.5 per cent.
Village Roadshow (VRL) is down 10 per cent after cutting its profit forecast for the year. In a one-page statement VRL said its two main divisions – Theme Parks and Cinemas – have underperformed over the past 12 months and now expects earnings to fall short of hopes (at best expects to breakeven).
Oil Search (OSH) is down 0.5 per cent after announcing a 36 per cent slide in 1Q production. Whitehaven (WHC) is up 2.7 per cent as the NSW based coal miner lifted sales by 10 per cent to 5.4mt over the past three months thanks to strong demand in Asia.
A push by the Greens to legalise cannabis in Australia seems to be helping some companies involved with the plant despite being given the cold shoulder by the Turnbull government. MMJ Phytotech (MMJ) is up 5.3 per cent, Auscann (AC8) is up 2.5 per cent and Creso Pharma (CPH) is up 2.3 per cent.
CIMIC (CIM) is edging higher after handing down a 7 per cent lift in 1Q profit to $172n while Downer (DOW) is improving after winning a $660m (6.5 year contract) to do work for Oz Minerals (OZL).
In the RBA Board minutes the central bank continues to suggest a lift in rates is more likely than a cut. This has been widely expected for some time by economists although the market is pricing in just a 30 per cent chance of a hike by the end of 2018.
Largely as expected, China’s GDP rose by 1.4 per cent over the first quarter of 2018 to be up 6.8 per cent over the year.
1.4bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $1.9bn. 558 stocks are up, 421 down and 376 are flat.
Published by CommSec