After a slow start, the Aussie sharemarket has bounced back into positive territory at towards lunch. The ASX 200 dipped into negative territory early and was down 17 points at its lows. The index is now 24 points or 0.4% higher at 5707.3 and follows another positive session on Wall St on optimism over US-China trade talks commencing this week.
After being among the main weights early, a turnaround for the financials has helped lift the broader market. Three of the four big banks are now all back in positive territory with Westpac Bank (WBC) leading the way, up 0.6%. Gains for healthcare and telco names are also propelling the market higher. Telstra (TLS) is gaining 2.3% while CSL Ltd (CSL) is 1.6% higher and ResMed (RMD) islifting 1.3%.
The wider market moves have been slightly muted by losses for some of the major retail names. Supermarket giants Woolworths (WOW) is down 0.7% while Coles Group (COL) is easing 0.8%. Wesfarmers (WES) which owns retail brands such as Kmart, Officeworks and Bunnings, is also lower by 0.3%.
Gold miners are also mostly weaker and are among the worst performers on the ASX 200 with Saracen Minerals (SAR) losing more than 2.8%. Resolute Mining (RSG) is 2.5% weaker after responding to a newspaper article surrounding the future of its Ravenswood Gold mine inQueensland and whether the business is to spin-off or sell the mine.
In other company news, Bingo Industries (BIN) has suggested divesting its eastern Sydney waste processing plant to appease the consumer watchdog’s (ACCC) concerns in a lessening of competition over its proposed acquisition of Dial-a-Dump. The ACCC will make a final decision on the proposed takeover by 21 Feb 19. BIN shares are up 5.4%.
Australia’s trade balance in November came in at a surplus of $1,925 million compared to estimates of a $2,175 million surplus. Weekly consumer confidence also eased slightly to 115.2 last week. The Aussie dollar is buying 71.4 US cents.
So far, 0.7b units have been traded worth $1.5b with 529 stocks higher, 337 lower and 316 unchanged.
Published by CommSec