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Local shares have started the new trading week in negative territory despite modest gains for US markets on Friday. The ASX 200 opened around 0.4% weaker with losses accelerating towards lunch as it trades 31 points or 0.54% lower to 5699.4.
Energy names are leading the losses with most sectors in negative territory. Crude oil prices have stabilised over recent sessions from its steep declines on concerns of oversupply. Caltex (CTX) is down 2.3% while Santos (STO) is losing 1.3%.
Viva Energy (VEA) is sliding 11% after a weaker than expected trading update and earnings guidance for FY18 due to softer margins and volumes. Viva Energy expects Underlying EBITDA for FY2018 to be approximately $543 million and NPAT for FY2018 to be approximately $280 million, compared to the FY2018 Prospectus forecast for Underlying EBITDA of $605.1 million and NPAT of $324.1 million.
Local tech stocks are continuing to slip as well, with Afterpay Touch (APT) down 6% and Wistech Global (WTC) weaker by 2.3%. Appen (APX) is climbing another 2.6% after providing an earnings upgrade last Thursday. APX shares are now up ~18% since that announcement.
Communication stocks are among the few advancing sectors. Fairfax (FXJ) shareholders have today voted to approve the proposed merger with Nine Entertainment (NEC), at the FXJ AGM, despite a late attempt by former Domain CEO, Antony Catalano to delay the vote. The merger will now face federal court approval on November 27. Fairfax and Nine shares are both climbing more than 3% each. Domain Holdings (DHG) are lifting 7.2%.
Department store, Myer (MYR) is declining 5.5% after a drop in 1Q19 sales of 4.8% on the same time last year, with a 4.3% slide on a same store basis. Total online sales have lifted 3.6% over the period. Meanwhile, Baby Bunting (BBN) is jumping 12% with a 9.6% lift in comparable sales growth year to date (~20 weeks to Nov 15).
The Aussie dollar is buying 73.2 US cents with a quiet week for local economic releases. So far, 0.9B units have traded worth $1.4B with 424 stocks higher, 496 lower and 340 unchanged.
Published by James Tao, CommSec