Local shares opened a touch weaker with little direction from overseas markets. US markets were closed overnight due to the Thanksgiving Day holiday. The ASX 200 has recovered to improve by 25 points or 0.4% to 5716 around lunch time. For the week, the ASX 200 is looking at a decline of 0.3%.
The retail sectors (discretionary & staples) are among the biggest improvers along with property stocks so far. Woolworths (WOW) is higher for a third straight day, rising 1.9%. Wesfarmers (WES) is improving 1.8% after two sessions of losses but Coles Group (COL) is weaker by 0.2% but remains above it listing price of $12.49.
Adventure retailer, Kathmandu (KMD) has outperformed as it leaps 15% after announcing same store sales (SSS) growth of +6.3% (constant exchange rate) for the 15 weeks to November 11. SSS growth was +7.1% in Australia and +5.2% in NZ.
The steepest losses are coming from the healthcare and communications sectors. Australia’s largest telco, Telstra (TLS) is leading the declines among communication stocks as it slides 1.7% with biotech firm CSL Ltd giving up 1.4%.
Resource stocks are also modestly lower with major miners BHP and Rio Tinto (RIO) down 0.7% and 0.8% each with Fortescue Metals (FMG) 0.4% weaker. Bluescope Steel (BSL) shares are lifting 3% on a positive trading update at its AGM today. BSL re-affirmed its 1H19 underlying earnings to be ~10% higher than 2H18.
Energy producers are mixed so far, despite another dip in crude oil prices on a rise in US inventories and adding to concerns of global oversupply. Talks of output cuts by OPEC nations helped minimise losses for oil prices. The energy sector has been one of the main underperformers so far this week. Santos (STO) is sliding 1.2% while Oil Search (OSH) is rising 1.1%.
On the economic front, key indicators such as new business and new orders are sending positive signals according to the CBA “flash” Purchasers managing Index (PMI) which rose from 52 in October to 52.9 in November. The Aussie dollar is buying 72.54 US cents.
So far, 0.8B units have been traded worth $1.3B with 460 stocks higher, 441 weaker and 316 unchanged.
Published by James Tao, CommSec