Ahead of the Reserve Bank’s decision on interest rates this afternoon, the ASX 200 is lifting by 0.4 per cent thanks to gains across most sectors. While this is just the second improvement in eight sessions, the index remains less than 1 per cent away from 10.5 year highs.
While more than 70 per cent of stocks are improving at lunch, mining stocks are the main weight. Commodity prices took a hit overnight on a firmer US dollar and US-ChinaEuropean trade tensions. BHP Billiton (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals (FMG) are down by as much as 1.8 per cent.
The banks, energy and consumer related stocks are standing out. A2 Milk (A2M) is surging by 5 per cent after extending an agreement with Synlait for the supply of milk used in its infant formula products for two years through to July 2023.
EBOS (EBO) is up 5 per cent for the second day after winning the right to be the exclusive third party distributor of pharmaceutical products to more than 400 Chemist Warehouse/My Chemist stores in Australia for five years from July 2019. EBO expects to generate around $1bn in sales in the first year.
Sigma (SIG) is up 4 per cent at lunch. On Monday however its shares shed 40 per cent after not renewing its distribution contract with Chemist Warehouse.
Invocare (IVC) has made its fifth acquisition of the year, entering an agreement to buy Albury Wodonga based funeral and cremation company Lester & Son for an undisclosed sum.
Domain (DHG) is up 1 per cent after the real estate classifieds business appointed former Google Australia & New Zealand Managing Director Jason Pellegrino as its CEO from August.
Consumer confidence fell by 0.8 per cent last week to a reading of 120.4 according to a weekly survey of around 1000 consumers. Confidence levels are still above the long-term average and above 100.0, which separates pessimists from optimists. JB Hi-Fi (JBH), Harvey Norman (HVN) and Myer (MYR) are up by at least 1.2 per cent.
1.1bn shares have changed hands at lunch worth $1.6bn. 562 stocks are up, 400 are down and 358 are flat.
The Reserve Bank is expected to keep interest rates on hold this afternoon at 2.30pm AEST for the 23rd consecutive month.
Published by CommSec