Local shares are trading flat as we head towards lunch. The ASX 200 is 10 points or 0.15% higher but was up by as much as 17 points in the early part of trade. The index still remains comfortably above the 6300 point barrier and around the best levels in a decade.
The majority of sectors on the local bourse are pushing higher and with the materials and telcos the main contributors. Major miners, BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are both higher with a bounce in iron ore prices over the weekend. Fortescue Metals (FMG) is bucking the trend among the sector, with the pure play iron ore miner down 0.9% after recording a 58% slide in FY18 net profit to US$879 million on lower realised iron ore prices while it also cut its final dividend by half. Telstra (TLS) is leading telco names higher as it climbs 0.8%
Weighing on the market is the performance of the major banks, the big four are all weaker with the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) down 0.9%. Consumer staples are also dragging with the major supermarkets both softer. Wesfarmers (WES) is down 1.2% as it trades ex-dividendand Woolworths (WOW) has slipped 0.9% after reporting that FY19 food sales have been slower due to the changes in plastic bag policies and increased competition. Over the previous financial year, WOW lifted net profit by 12% and revenue was a touch higher at $57.2 billion.
Ansell (ANN), the manufacturer of health and safety products, has reported net profit of US$484.3 million after selling its condom business during the year. Underlying profit from continuing operations lifted 16%. The company was unable to provide certain guidance due to potential prices pressures from US tariffs which has resulted in an 8.5% slide in the stock price.
Exlipx (ECX) is soaring 15% after the company rejected a potential takeover bid by fleet management business SG Fleet (SGF) for an equivalent of $2.52/share. SGF shares are also 4% higher.
With a quiet day on the local economic front, the Aussie dollar is lifting as easing trade concerns weakens the USD. The AUD buys 73.1 US cents. So far, 1.3B units have traded worth $2.5B with 638 stocks higher, 433 lower and 396 unchanged.
Published by James Tao – Media & Capital Markets Analyst (Author), CommSec