2min read
PREVIOUS ARTICLE Metcash shares lift despite $1... NEXT ARTICLE Casino construction kicks off ...

The Australian share market is broadly flat in early trade as strong gains across energy and resource stocks are offset by the heavyweight financial and healthcare sectors.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 1.4 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 6,226.6 points at 1030 AEST after losing most of its initial gains, while the broader All Ordinaries index was up 2.4 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 6,324.5 points.

Australian Stock Report head of research Chris Conway says energy companies, including Woodside Petroleum, Origin Energy, Oil Search and Santos are benefiting from OPEC’s decision to ease production cuts only modestly.

OPEC’s move saw oil prices jump up between four to five per cent, Mr Conway said.

‘Energy players are really leading the charge today. That sector is clearly the strongest sector that we have,’ Mr Conway said.

Initially, the local market was supported by the strong momentum out of the US on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapping an eight-session losing streak to finish 0.49 per cent higher, he said.

However, falls across the heavyweight financials and healthcare sectors have since stymied the early morning gains.

Resource heavyweights, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, were up between 0.7 and 1.51 per cent, thanks to the price of iron ore gaining about 0.7 per cent.

Commwealth Bank fell 1.06 per cent to $73.08 after the nation’s biggest bank announced plans to demerge its wealth management and mortgage broking businesses, as well as an executive shake-up.

The other big banks, National Australia Bank, ANZ and Westpac, were also in the red.

Metcash shares rallied 15.5 cents, or 5.6 per cent, to $2.945 after the IGA and Foodland supermarkets supplier announced a $125 million share buy back and a full-year net loss of $149.5 million, which had been previously flagged.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has risen against its US counterpart on the back of OPEC’s production decision.

The local currency was trading at 74.29 US cents at 1030 AEST on Monday, from 74.04 US cents on Friday.

ON THE ASX AT 1030 AEST:

* The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 1.4 points, or 0.02 per cent, at 6,226.6 points

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 2.4 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 6,324.5 points

* The SPI200 futures contract was up 2 points, or 0.03 per cent, at 6,169 points

* National turnover was 528.2 million securities traded worth $552.7 million