It has been a much calmer session so far on Friday compared to yesterday’s action where the ASX 200 slumped to its worst single day loss in more than eight months. The index is trading a touch higher at lunch, climbing 12 points or 0.2% to 5676.
The muted rise is despite a solid rebound in US trading overnight, with all three major US indices improving between 1.6-3%. Weaker after market trade for larger US tech stocks Amazon and Alphabet has hampering the comeback for local shares somewhat. Both companieshave reported softer quarterly earnings
Locally, the biggest contributor to improvements are coming from the heavyweight sectors of financials and materials with support from the healthcare sector. Those sectors being among the main drags yesterday. The big four banks are all higher, up to 0.9% with the Commonwealth bank (CBA) leading gains for the major lenders.
Miners BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are both advancing ~1% while Fortescue (FMG) is reversing its 5.7% loss yesterday, up 6%. Golder miners are softer as a degree of investor confidence returns to equity markets. Newcrest (NCM) is down 3.5% and Northern Star (NST) sliding 5.7%.
The rebound in healthcare stocks is in part due to a 5.5% jump in ResMed (RMD) shares on a strong first quarter update. Revenue for the breathing apparatus maker increased 12% while net income lifted 23% over the three months to September. CSL Ltd (CSL) is also lifting 1.2%.
Primary Health (PRY) shares are weaker by 2.9% after it announced it underpaid some staff in its medical centres division from as early as July 2011. PRY will look to repay staff and is accounting the cost at $18 million.
Wealth manager, AMP Ltd (AMP) has stemmed the bleeding after its near 25% slump yesterday to record lows. AMP shares are 0.8% higher at lunch.
The Aussie dollar continues to buy around 70.7 US cents on a lack of headline economic releases. The big ticket release next week is Wednesday’s inflation (CPI) data. So far, 1.2B units have traded worth $3.8B with 628 stocks higher, 393 lower and 298 unchanged.
Published by James Tao, CommSec