The Aussie market is remaining only slightly firmer in what is a data heavy session for global economies. The ASX 200 is up by just 0.04 per cent and is being supported most by gains from Telstra (TLS), mining stocks, Wesfamers (WES) and Woolworths (WOW). The major banks are a weight at lunch.
Early this morning, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates in the US for the second time this year by 25bps to a range between 1.75 per cent – 2 per cent. The central bank has also raised its expectations for the number of rate hikes this year to a total of four or more. The Fed described US economic growth as ‘solid’ and expects inflation to lift in 2018. This pushed the USD a little higher this morning.
The latest employment/unemployment report was released in Australia at 11.30am (AEST). 12,000 jobs were added in May (forecast ~19,000) while the unemployment rate fell more than expected to 5.4 per cent. The headline numbers do not tell the full story however. The jobless rate hitting six-month lows had a bit to do with there being fewer people in the workforce while all the job gains were part-time positions.
At midday, data on China’s economy was released on retail spending, production and investment with all three falling short of market expectations. While the Australian sharemarket is steady, the Aussie dollar is losing some of its strength.
Bubs Australia (BUB) entered a trading halt today pending the release of an announcement. The infant formula company is up 16 per cent this month and recently struck a deal to sell its products on one of China’s most visited websites (more than 500 million visitors a month).
Godfrey’s (GFY) has cut its profit expectations once again, telling investors that sales are down 15 per cent in June and 9 per cent on a year earlier. The vacuum cleaner retailer now expects to make $1.5m in underlying earnings at best compared to $3.5m flagged just last month.
Atlas Iron (AGO) is down 14 per cent after the WA government turned down its right to develop key infrastructure at Port Hedland.
APA is down 4 per cent after the pipeline operator surged by 21 per cent on Wednesday, receiving an $11/share (~$13bn takeover offer from a group of companies in Hong Kong).
Tonight, the European Central Bank will hold its monthly policy meeting. Many economics are anticipating details on plans to reign in its bond buying program.
1.6bn shares have changed hands so far worth $2.5bn. 534 stocks are up, 469 down and 412 are flat.
Published by CommSec