After a volatile session in global markets overnight, the local sharemarket has managed to trade higher with the ASX 200 lifting 32 points or 0.58% to 5608 towards lunch. The index is looking at consecutive gains for the first time in over a fortnight.
Positive headlines around the trade situation between China and the US has given a cautious rise to investor sentiment. There was a report that China was preparing to cut US car tariffs to 15%.
The Resources sectors are among the main drivers of gains for the broader market as commodity prices lifted. The energy sector is the most improved, in percentage terms, with Santos (STO) lifting 2.5% and Woodside (WPL) 1.3% higher. A similar positive move in metals prices is supporting local miners. Rio Tinto (RIO) is climbing 1.1% while South32 (S32) is up 2.6%.
Financials are also giving a boost with the big four lenders all trading higher. Westpac (WBC) is 0.3% higher with its Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Perth today. ANZand National Bank will hold their AGM’s next week. Telcos are the main weight with Telstra (TLS) softer by 1.6% and TPG Telecom (TPM) easing 1.4%.
In company news, Sonic Healthcare (SHL) is in a trading halt as it acquires a US diagnostics firm, Aurora Diagnostics, for $750 million. SHL will look to raise $600 million in an institutional placement and $100 million in a retail purchase plan to fund the acquisition.
NZ online marketplace and classifieds business, Trade Me (TME) has received a takeover offer by a British private equity for NZ$2.56 billion (A$2.44 billion) at NZ$6.45 per share. TME is 4.5% higher and is dual listed on the ASX and NZX.
Mayne Pharma (MYX) is similarly up 4.5% after receiving US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its application for Tolsura capsules, a treatment of certain systemic fungal infections in adults.
The Aussie dollar continues to firm against the greenback as the local session progresses, buying 72.25 US cents. So far, 0.7B units have changed hands worth $1.7B with 461 stocks higher, 402 weaker and 317 unchanged.
Published by James Tao, CommSec