Aussie shares are losing ground for a fourth day, with the ASX 200 index down 0.8 per cent despite a solid 1.2 per cent lift for US equities overnight. After six straight weeks of gains from the start of April, enthusiasm has died down in the past fortnight. The truce between the US and China which puts on hold risks of a trade war had a calming effect on markets overnight, with the Dow Jones lifting by 1.2 per cent.
Losses are widespread today, with all sectors down and just 16 per cent of companies improving.
Fears that oil production in Venezuela could fall further due to an economic, social and political crisis, has pushed the commodity higher. The price of oil rose by 1.3 per cent to US$72.2/barrel overnight and remains around three and a half year highs. Venezuela has been one of the top 10 oil exporters in the past but production has more than halved over the past 20 years.
Telstra (TLS) remains around seven-year lows, slumping by 2.7 per cent. It is still unknown what triggered yesterday 4G outage.
Healthscope (HSO) is down 4.7 per cent after rejecting two takeover proposals over $4bn and warning of lower profits following the closure of two underperforming private hospitals.
James Hardie (JHX) is standing out, rising by 4.05 per cent after the building products maker provided an upbeat outlook of its US business. This has encouraged investors despite a 47 per cent slide in annual earnings to US$146.1m due partly to asbestos compensation claims in Australia.
BWX – the skin and hair care products company behind Sukin – is up 37 per cent after receiving a ~$6.60/share takeover offer from the company’s CEO, Finance Director and a private equity firm.
HT&E (HT1) is up 5.7 per cent after receiving a $500m takeover offer for its Adshel outdoor advertising business from APN Outdoor (APO). This follows a $470m bid from oOh!Media (OML) which it rejected.
On the economic front, consumer confidence rose by 0.7 per cent to 121.6 last week according to a weekly survey. Retailer stocks are mostly firmer. Myer (MYR) is up 5.6 per cent, JB Hi-Fi (JBH) is up 1.9 per cent and Kogan.com (KGN) is edging higher by 0.5 per cent.
1.3bn shares have changed hands so far worth $2bn. 426 stocks are up, 590 are down and 386 are flat.
Published by CommSec