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The Aussie market is again trading weaker towards lunch and continuing on from steep declines over the first two sessions of the week. The ASX 200 is lower by 5 points at 6036 after short-lived gains at the open. It was another volatile lead in from Wall Street, which finished mostly flat for the session.
A rebound in healthcare stocks along with gains for Telstra (TLS), up 1.1% and major miners, BHP Billiton (BHP) is improving 0.2% with Rio Tinto (RIO) lifting 1%, haven’t been enough to overcome losses in the financials. The major lenders are all down between 0.3-0.6%. Financials have remained the main drag on the local market over the week so far.
The healthcare sector saw the heaviest losses but has improved so far today. The largest contributor to the improvement is CSL Ltd (CSL), which is clawing back nearly half of its 4.5% drop yesterday. CSL is advancing 2.1%. Meanwhile, Cochlear (COH), which manufactures and distributes hearing devices, is climbing 2.4% after announcing it is looking to move into the next phase of its research and development program to a totally implantable cochlear device.
Energy names are also improving after crude oil prices rose 1% in overnight trade. Santos (STO), the standout up 1.2%.
Education provider, Navitas (NVT) has surged 21% after receiving an unsolicited takeover bid from a consortium including private equity interests and former CEO Rod Jones, offering $5.50 per share.
Elsewhere, Veterinary services and pet care retailer, Greencross Ltd (GXL) has responded to media speculation of a possible takeover by confirming it is in dialogue with several parties in relation to potential proposals. GXL shares have responded by jumping 16%.
The Aussie dollar continues to improve against the greenback following tweets from President Trump over US interest rates moving too quickly. The AUD buys 71.2 US cents and off its lows of earlier this week.
So far, 0.9B units have traded hands worth $2B with 426 higher, 481 lower and 366 unchanged.
Published by James Tao, CommSec