Aussie shares are easing for a second day, with the ASX 200 index down by 0.1 per cent at lunch due to losses from the banks and some major miners. Despite the pullback, with only days remaining in July, the market remains on track to lift for a fourth straight month.
Last night US markets improved strongly. Trade tensions between the US and European Union eased with both agreeing to lower trade barriers and move toward removing some tariffs.
Nine Entertainment (NEC) and Fairfax (FXJ) both announced their merger to the market this morning in a deal worth approximately $2.16bn. NEC shareholders will hold 51.1 per cent of the merged company in a deal which includes both shares and cash. Fairfax (FXJ) shares are surging by 13 per cent at lunch while Domain (DHG) – which is 60 per cent owned by (FXJ) – is up by 9 per cent. While it still need to receive regulatory approval, the merged group would bring together brands like 2GB, 3AW, Domain, Stan, Nine Network and The Sydney Morning Herald. NEC shares are down by 8 per cent.
The price of gold rose by 0.5 per cent overnight, helping producers of the precious metal lift at lunch. Newcrest Mining (NCM) also released a quarterly update which was largely in-line with the company’s revised guidance made in April. NCM gold production eased by 1 per cent while copper slipped by 7 per cent.
Investment bank, Macquarie (MQG) has named its first ever female chief executive. Shemara Wikramanayake, the current Group Head of Macquarie Asset Management, will replace current CEO Nicholas Moore in November.
Fortescue Metals (FMG) is down 2.2 per cent. The iron ore miner handed down its quarterly production numbers. FMG announced record iron ore shipments of 46.5 million tonnes in the June quarter and 170mt over the year at a cost of US$12.36 per wet metric tonne.
While energy stocks are improving thanks to another lift in oil prices, together with improvements in gold companies, losses from Rio Tinto (RIO), BlueScope (BSL), Fortescue (FMG) and the banks are enough to keep the market negative at lunch.
1.1bn shares have changed hands so far worth $1.8bn. 538 stocks are up, 441 down and 340 are flat.
Published by CommSec