After having its first weekly fall in seven weeks and despite a slow start this morning, the Aussie market is a touch firmer as we approach lunch. The ASX 200 is up by just a few points and is being weighed down most by the banks and miners.
While US shares eased on Friday, concerns of a trade war between the US and China have eased. Following two days of talks between both nations, a truce has been called. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that “…we are putting the trade war on hold” and that China would “significantly increase purchases” of US goods (without giving specifics).
Most of the banks remain under pressure after four of the big five went ex-dividend last week. Among the miners, South32 (S32) and Fortescue (FMG) are the worst performers.
Telstra (TLS) is down by 1.4 per cent and remains near sevenyear lows following reports of another widespread outage this morning. Early last week TLS delivered an earnings warning.
Building products maker, Boral (BLD) is down 3 per cent after a number of major brokers downgraded their expectations of the group. Among the retailers, Harvey Norman (HVN) is the worst performer, sliding by 2 per cent.
Despite the losses above, seven in ten companies on the ASX 200 are improving which is helping keep equities slightly positive.
AGL Energy (AGL) is up 1.25 per cent after turning down the $250m cash takeover for its Liddell power station in the Hunter Valley from Alinta. AGL said the deal is not in the best interest of shareholders or the company and ‘significantly undervalues’ the business. It has reaffirmed plans to close Liddell in December 2022.
Santos (STO) – one of the largest companies in Australia’s energy sector – is up 2.7 per cent after US oil and gas investor Harbour Energy sweetened its takeover bid for the company to US$5.21/share (A$6.95/share) from its previous offer of US$5.12. This values STO at ~US$10.8bn.
CSL Limited (CSL) is up 1.6 per cent after the blood products maker’s lift to profit guidance triggered a number of broker upgrades. Vocus (VOC) is up ~5 per cent after the telco behind Dodo and iPrimus named a new CEO.
No major market moving data is due for release in Australia or the region today.
1.1bn shares have changed hands so far today, worth $1.6bn. 530 stocks are up, 466 are down and 407 are unchanged.
Published by CommSec