Aussie shares are off to a robust start on Monday, with strong gains from the banks helping lift the ASX 200 by 0.5 per cent at lunch. The index is at a six-week high and is approaching 6000pts despite an uninspiring flat finish for US equities on Friday and softer commodity prices.
This is the last day of what has been a positive month for stocks. April is on track to be the best month since October, with the ASX 200 up 3.8 per cent and has lifted for four straight weeks (longest winning streak of 2018).
Strong gains from banks, particularly Westpac (WBC) and National Bank (NAB) on Monday are helping to drive the market higher. ANZ will post its half year results tomorrow, NAB on Thursday and Macquarie (MQG) posts its FY numbers on Friday.
AMP Limited (AMP) is steady despite news Chairman Catherine Brenner has stepped down. This comes a week after the resignation of its CEO which was triggered by the money manager facing the Royal Commission. AMP shares are down 20 per cent in April and have slipped for 10 straight days.
AGL Limited (AGL) has confirmed it received a non-binding and highly conditional offer from Chow Tai Fook and Alinta to acquire the Liddell Power Station for $250m in cash. AGL is assessing the proposal and that ‘no assurance can be given that any transaction will result from the offer’.
Property companies are strong performers, with Stockland (SGP) standing out thanks to a positive quarterly update on their business this morning.
Mining and energy stocks are the main weight following a 3 per cent slump in iron ore, a 2.5 per cent slide in aluminium, nickel, copper and tin and a slight pullback in oil. BHP Billiton (BHP) is down 0.9 per cent following a broker price target cut as well.
Santos (STO) is down heavily ahead of its AGM on Thursday. Origin Energy (ORG) is up 1 per cent following its quarterly production report. Production over the past nine months has jumped by 14 per cent while revenue is up 48 per cent thanks to firmer energy prices.
ResMed (RMD) – which makes products for those with sleep disorders – is down following its quarterly results late last week.
The latest quarterly State of the States report has been released by CommSec. NSW remains the country’s top performing state, although VIC continues to close the gap.
Markets in China and Japan are closed today for a public holiday. 1.3bn shares have changed hands so far today, worth $2.3bn. 608 stocks rose, 469 rose and 353 finished flat.
Published by CommSec