The Aussie market is fading from a better start due mainly to losses from BHP Billiton (BHP) and farming group Costa (CGC) at lunch. This is the first time this week local equities are not lifting and the ASX 200 is still close to two-month highs.
What is encouraging is that the US-China trade negotiations seem to be heading in the right direction as three-day talks wrapped up in Beijing. While no specific commitments were made China pledged to buy “a substantial amount” of goods from the US. Further talks are set to continue in Washington on 22 January. These hopes have helped push Aussie shares up by around 3 per cent this week.
The price of oil surged by 5.2 per cent overnight on hopes of more demand. This is helping push energy stocks like Santos (STO), Oil Search (OSH) and Woodside (WPL) higher. Crude oil prices have improved for seven straight days and surged by 15 per cent so far in January.
Early this morning the US central bank released its latest meeting minutes which continued to suggest some officials are keen to slow down the pace of rate hikes in 2019. This pushed the USD lower.
The Aussie market is largely being held back by BHP Billiton (BHP) and Costa Group (CGC) at lunch. BHP is trading ex-dividend for its $1.41 per share special dividend which will be paid to eligible shareholders on 30 January. This follows the sale of its US energy business and is pushing its shares down by 4 per cent at lunch.
Farming group Costa (CGC) is down 30 per cent after delivering a profit warning. It now expects no growth in earnings over the first half which compares to its prior goals of low double digit growth. The downgrade was blamed partly on subdued demand for tomatoes, berries and avocadoes in December.
Noni-B (NBL) is up 13 per cent after more than doubling sales over the first half thanks to solid demand over Christmas and a number of acquisitions over the past year. In May 2018, NBL purchased Millers, Katies, Rivers and Crossroads from Specialty Fashion. It now expects 1H profits of around $29m.
Orocobre (ORE) is up 4 per cent after the lithium miner released a drilling update on one of its sites in Argentina which takes it a step closer to production.
690.2m shares have changed hands so far today worth $1.4bn. 497 stocks are up, 335 are down and 319 are flat.
Published by CommSec