The Aussie market is weaker for a second successive session towards lunch with the ASX 200 pulling back 18 points or 0.3% at 6168. US markets were mixed again overnight with trade concerns still weighing on investors.
The energy sector is propping up the broader market. Crude oil experienced a solid rise in overnight trade, hitting four year highs in the process as sanctions look to impact Iranian oil exports and constraints to Venezuelan output. Most major local energy producers are rising 1.2-2.3% so far.
Miners are performing well, despite thin trade for iron ore with a public holiday in China yesterday. Fortescue Metals (FMG) and Bluescope Steel (BSL) are both more than 2% higher.
Meanwhile, losses in the financials and retail sectors remain the main laggards. The big four banks are all weaker by 0.5% to 1.3%, with ANZ Bank (ANZ) the biggest decliner. While major supermarkets Woolworths (WOW) and, Coles owner, Wesfarmers (WES) are down 0.3% and0.8% each.
While higher oil prices are benefitting energy producers, airlines are negatively impacted with the price of fuel among the most significant costs for those businesses. Qantas (QAN) is declining 1.5% while Virgin Australia (VAH) is sliding 3.3%.
Viva Energy (VEA) is 1.9% softer after receiving an assessment from the State Revenue Office of Victoria for $31.2 million in relation to the transfer of properties prior to its IPO. Viva is objecting to the assessment but if it is unsuccessful it will adversely impact VEA’s net profit for the year.
Nufarm (NUF) has requested a trading halt for the remainder of the week pending an announcement about an upcoming capital raising and ahead of its FY results released tomorrow.
Weekly consumer confidence fell from its recent 5-week highs to 117.2 last week, but still remains above the long term average. The Aussie dollar is little changed, buying 72.5 US cents.
So far, 1B units have been traded worth $1.8B with 427 stocks higher, 526 lower and 318 unchanged.
Published by James Tao – Media & Capital Markets Analyst, CommSec