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Local shares are giving up a portion of gains made over the past three sessions with the ASX 200 easing 49 points or 0.88% to 5612 around lunch on Friday. It was a mixed session on Wall St with stocks see-sawing throughout the US session as markets still digest developments in the ongoing US-China trade stoush.
Losses have accelerated as the day progresses with across the board declines. The financials are the main drag with all four major lenders deeply in the red. ANZ Bank is falling the most, down 1.6%. Resource sectors are also in negative territory despite opening higher on the back of stronger commodity prices. Energy names are slidingdespite a sharp rise in oil prices as output cuts look to hit levels of supply globally. Both Oil Search (OSH) and Santos (STO) are both weaker more than 1%.
Telcos remain softer following yesterday’s heavy losses. Telstra (TLS) is down another 1% while TPG Telecom is falling 1.3%. The ACCC expressed preliminary concerns to competition in the mobile network on the proposed merger with Vodafone Australia. Hutchison Telecom (HTA) which has a 50% stake in Vodafone Australia, is bucking the trend and lifting 4.5%.
In company news, Villa World (VLW) is declining 15% as the residential property developer provided an update for its FY19 guidance. VLW advised it will not achieve its NPAT (net profit) guidance of $40 million for the year due to slowing sales and delays in completion for its Victorian projects. The company did not provide a revised guidance.
Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API) is climbing 10% with the owner of pharmacy brands such as Priceline, proposing a merger with Sigma Healthcare (SIG). SIG operates Amcal chemists among other brands. The proposed merger involves API offering 0.31 API shares and $0.23 cash for each SIG share, valuing the business at $726 million.
The Aussie dollar has eased back near 72 US cents from highs of 72.3 US cents ahead of key Chinese economic data to be released later today.
So far, 1B units have been traded worth $2.4B with 379 stocks higher, 525 weaker and 316 unchanged.
Published by James Tao, CommSec