Fresh trade concerns between the US and major trading partners has sparked another downturn in global equity markets overnight with the US looking to impose tariffs on aluminium and steel imports from Europe, Canada and Mexico. Losses on all US indices has created a weak lead for the Aussie market which has opened softer. The ASX 200 is trading 21 points or 0.36% weaker at 5990 points at lunch.
Sectors weighing on the broader market most are in the financial and energy space. Three of the four major banks are lower, with ANZ Bank (ANZ) the biggest individual drag on the market falling 1.5%. The bank is facing proceedings by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for alleged cartel conduct on an institutional equity placement in August 2015. ANZ Group Treasurer is also under DPP scrutiny. Westpac (WBC) is trading 0.3% higher.
Energy stocks are being hampered by a 1.7% fall in Nymex crude oil prices following US oil productions hitting record levels in March. Energy producers Woodside (WPL) and Oil Search (OSH) have been the hardest hit sliding 0.8% and 1.5% respectively.
Supporting the market has been lifts among healthcare stocks and miners. Among the health stocks, Cochlear (COH) is making the biggest gain, lifting by 3.3% while CSL is 0.3% higher. Bluescope Steel (BSL), up 2.4% along with gold miners are among the best improvers for the materials sector. Rio Tinto (RIO) is 1.2% weaker as the miner is more exposed to the US tariffs on steel and aluminium.
Ardent Leisure (AAD), the theme park & entertainment operator has announced a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in Mr Darin Harper who previously worked as CFO in the group’s US entertainment business. AAD shares are 0.5% weaker.
On the economic front, national home prices fell 0.1% in May, according to CoreLogic Australia. Hobart continues to outperform while Sydney and Melbourne fell 0.2% and 0.1% each. The manufacturing sector continues to expand albeit at a slower rate in May with the release of PMI figures. The Aussie dollar continues to hover around the US 75.6c mark
So far, 1.2B units have traded worth $2B with 437 stocks higher, 527 weaker and 377 unchanged.
Published by James Tao – Media & Capital Markets Analyst (Author), CommSec