The Australian sharemarket is weaker for the 10th time in the last 11 sessions. The ASX 200 opened weaker following a mixed night on Wall Street and is trading 36 points or 0.6% lower towards lunch with losses accelerating as the session progresses.
While the majority of sectors are in the red, leading the pull back on the market today are the financials and consumer staples. The major banks are all weaker with losses between 0.8% and 1.1%. Macquarie Group (MQG) has given up some of its gains over the past two session with a decline of 2%. Softness in staples is dominated by a 3% fall in Woolworths (WOW), as it trades ex-dividend, and a 1.1% slide in Wesfarmers (WES).
On the flip side, resource stocks are outperforming, underpinned by a rally in commodity prices overnight. Miners such as BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are both trading more than 1% higher. The energy sector has been leading gains throughout the week and is still pushing higher today with Beach Energy (BPT) up 2.9% and Woodside (WPL) advancing 0.9%.
In company news, NZ dairy producer Fonterra (FSF) has announced its first ever full year loss. FSF, with brands such as Mainland and Western Star, reported an annual loss of NZ$196 million after posting a NZ$734 million profit in the prior year. The result was hampered by several factors, including write offs to its investment in Chinese food company Beingmate and higher farmgate prices paid to farmers.
Zip Co (Z1P) is climbing 5.8% after signing an agreement for Target Australia to utilise Z1P’s payment servicesinstore and online from October 2018. Meanwhile, propertygroup, Propertylink (PLG) is proposing a takeover of Centuria REIT (CIP) for $755 million, through acombination of cash and shares. PLG shares are down2.3% while CIP are improving 10%.
August monthly employment data has come in strongerthan expected with 44,000 jobs created compared to anestimate of 18,000 jobs. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.3% with greater participation. The Aussie dollar rallied on the release and is buying 71.9 US cents.
So far, 0.9B units have traded worth $1.8B with 472 stocks higher, 446 lower and 330 unchanged.
Published by James Tao – Analyst (Author) CommSec