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Local shares are posting early gains following a solid session on Wall Street overnight. The main US indices all rose to snap multi session losing streaks. At lunch the ASX 200 is lifting 15 points or 0.27% to 5751. Despite the positive start to Friday, the top 200 index is still pointing at a near 3% loss for the week with just a few more hours until the end of the trading week.
The resource sectors are leading the charge. The energy sector is improving for a second straight session as oil prices recover from recent losses with some investors believing the sell-off over the past three weeks had been overdone. Woodside Petroleum (WPL) is gaining 0.6% while Beach Energy (BPT) is up 3.4%. Santos (STO) is also advancing 0.7% after the ACCC announced it will not oppose its US$2.15 billion takeover of Quadrant Energy.
The decision by the ACCC to approve the deal has seen a positive flow on effect for Macquarie Group (MQG). MQG is upgrading its FY19 guidance as the investment group holds a 21.8% stake in Quadrant Energy. Macquarie’s FY19 result will now be up to 15% higher than FY18, compared to a previous estimate of 10% growth. MQG shares are up 2%. Most of the major lenders are also higher but National Bank (NAB) is flat. UK based bank, CYB Group (CYB) is sliding 7.6% amid Brexit deal concerns.
Retailers are also in the spotlight. Adventure retailer, Kathmandu (KMD) is softer by 7.2% as it trades exdividend. KMD will pay a final dividend of NZ$0.11. Wesfarmers (WES) shareholders have approved the $20B Coles demerger at its AGM yesterday. Meanwhile, embattled department store, Myer (MYR) has put a pause on trade pending an announcement after a media report suggested it was not meeting its continuous disclosure obligations. MYR last traded at $0.45.
Fruit & veg grower, Costa Group (CGC) is gaining 12.4% after agreeing to acquire the farming operations at a citrus & grape farm in North West Victoria. Under the agreement, CGC will enter into a 20 year lease of the Nangiloc Colignan farm.
The Aussie dollar remains supported against the USD following strong jobs data released yesterday, the AUD buying 72.82 US cents. So far, 0.7B units have been traded worth $1.5B with 508 stocks higher, 390 lower and 323 unchanged.
Published by James Tao, CommSec