Local shares were off to a muted start on Wednesday. The positive breakthrough in trade between Mexico and the US has seen US markets continue to hit fresh highs over recent sessions. After a flat start, the ASX 200 is trading 20 points or 0.34% higher at lunch to 6325 points.
Supporting markets for a third session this week are the financials and materials. The four major banks are all higher between 0.3-1.1% with National Bank (NAB) the biggest improver. BHP Billiton (BHP) and building materials firm, Boral (BLD) are lifting the materials sector most. BHP is up 1% while BLD is climbing 8.3% after a strong 48% lift in net profit to $441 million, with growth expected to continue across all its businesses into FY19.
Telcos remain a weight on the market with Telstra (TLS) sliding another 3.3% following its 1.5% drop yesterday, with energy and healthcare names also contributing losses.
On the reporting front today, Virgin Australia (VAH) is 4% weaker after announcing a larger net loss of $653.3 million in FY18 compared to the year before. The figure impacted by impairments and tax write-offs of $571.9 million. While its domestic business improved, the international business was impacted by higher fuel prices, investment in its Hong Kong services and the Bali volcanic activity in late 2017.
Bellamy’s Australia (BAL) is 6.5% higher, after swinging into a $43.3 million profit for the 2018 financial year from a loss of $0.8 million the year before. The infant formula maker lifted revenue to $328 million, up 37% with higher margins but delays in approval for its Chinese regulatory approval (SAMR) is weighing on its sales in China.
Cabcharge (CAB) is slumping 8% after the taxi provider narrowed its net loss to $2.2 million and lifted revenues by 22%. Elsewhere, Bega Cheese (BGA) is 0.25% lower with net profit slashed by 79% to $28.8 million with expansion and acquisition costs impacting. Revenue did improve by 17% to $1.44 billion with the integration of the Mondelez acquisition.
With little domestic data today, the Aussie dollar saw modest volatility and is buying US73.4 cents ahead of tomorrow’s Q2 capex survey.
So far, 1.2B units have traded worth $2.6B with 538 stocks higher, 458 lower and 360 unchanged.
Published by James Tao – Analyst (Author), CommSec