The Aussie market was off to a flat start on Thursday but is gaining momentum as the session progresses. The ASX 200 is up 26 points or 0.4% to 6294. Wall St was mostly weaker overnight with the news that China will retaliate in kind against 25% tariffs on an additional $16 billion of US imports.
Locally, the energy and materials sectors are weighing most on the ASX 200 with global oil prices slumping 3% in overnight trade. Oil producers such as Santos (STO), Woodside (WPL) and Origin Energy (ORG) are down between 0.7-1.7%. In the mining space, Rio Tinto (RIO) is down 2% as it trades ex-div while BHP Billiton (BHP) is 0.2% higher after agreeing to pay US$50 million, with no admission of liability, to settle a US class action in relation to the Samarco dam failure in 2015.
Financials and the consumer discretionary sector are among the biggest improvers with all four major banks higher. A number of positively-received results from Suncorp (SUN), Magellan Financial (MFG) and Crown Resorts (CWN) have also helped lift these sectors.
Suncorp shares are lifting 5% on its FY18 result. The QLD based financial services group announced it is selling its life insurance business for approx. $725 million with $600 million from the sale to be returned to shareholders. Outside of this, revenue was down 11% to $15.5 billion while NPAT also dipped slightly by 1.5%. Magellan is surging 13% on a 34% jump in revenue to $452.6 million.
Crown shares are up 4.5% despite mixed trade over FY18. Annual net profit fell 70%, but before significant items (including proceeds from the sale of its Macau resort in FY17), net profit lifted 6% to $327 million.
On the other hand, shares in Mirvac Group (MGR), Orora (ORA) and AGL Energy (AGL) have declined on earnings. AGL is down 4% despite a near tripling of FY18 net profit to $1.59 billion with a weaker than expected FY19 guidance weighing on the stock. It is a quiet day on the local economic front. In the region, Chinese inflation data has beaten expectations with the Aussie dollar buying 74.25 at the time of writing.
So far, 1.2B units have been traded worth $2.1B with 534 stocks higher, 430 lower and 383 unchanged.
Published by James Tao – Media & Capital Markets Analyst (Author) CommSec