The Aussie market is retreating towards lunch after opening higher, around the best levels in 10.5 years. Local shares received a strong lead from Wall Street with all major US indexes advancing in reaction to last Friday’s solid US jobs report and the upcoming US quarterly earnings period. The ASX 200 was up by as much as 20 points at its best levels but has since slid back into negative territory, currently trading 11 points or 0.2% lower at 6274.
Leading the retreat for the local bourse is the decline in financials. The major banks are all in the red after a positive start. Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is down 1.5% with ANZ Bank (ANZ) losing 1.1%. Pendal Group (PDL), formerly BT Investment Management, has slipped 4.3% despite lifting its overall Funds under Management (FUM) by $1 billion to $100 billion for the June quarter. Insurance Australia (IAG) is lower by 0.6% after Group Counsel Chris Bertuch decided to quit the role.
Consumer staples have also weighed with the owner of Coles, Kmart and Bunnings, Wesfarmers (WES) declining by 1.2%, Treasury Wine Estate (TWE) is 2.5% weaker and Metcash has fallen 2.9% as it trades ex-dividend.
Energy and materials stocks are minimising the losses with both sectors lifting on higher commodity prices overnight. Major miners BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto are improving by 1.4% and Bluescope Steel (BSL) is gaining 1.6%. Energy producers are benefitting from the recent rally in oil prices. Woodside (WPL) and Origin (ORG) the standouts, improving by 0.7% and 0.8% respectively.
In other company news, Stockland (SGP) is lifting 2.9% with the property group indicating earnings guidance will be at the top end of its previous guidance, at 6.5% growth, while re-affirming its previous distribution guidance of 13.5c per security.
On the economic front, the NAB Business Survey for June has seen a slight rise in conditions while confidence is a touch weaker compared to May. Along with stronger Chinese inflation data, the Aussie dollar is holding around 74.75 US cents.
So far, 0.95B units have been traded worth $1.8B with 518 stocks higher, 443 lower and 341 unchanged.
Published by James Tao – Analyst (Author), CommSec