Local shares are edging higher for a fifth straight day but the gains appear to be running out of steam to close out the week. The ASX 200 is lifting by 7 points or 0.1% to 5802 towards lunch and is looking to close around 3.2% higher for the past five sessions. This follows Wall St climbing for a fifth straight session after swinging between gains and losses as it digested further comments from Fed chair Jay Powell.
The retail sectors are among the most improved sectors in percentage terms. Retails sales for the month of November rose 0.4% compared to estimates of 0.3%. Around $27.1b was spent over the month with the biggest improvements in household goods spending (+1.2) and Apparel (+1.5%). Major retail stocks are improving following the release with JB Hi-Fi (JBH) rising 2.9%, Myer (MYR) 0.7% higher.
Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) is climbing 4.5% after reiterating full year guidance of 25% earnings (EBITS) growth for fiscal 2019 and 1H19 EBITS between $335m to $340m. TWE fell sharply by 4.8% yesterday after US alcoholic beverage company Constellation Brands, which distributes Corona in the US, expected weaker sales.
Energy names also continue its recent ascendency with global oil prices steadily rising for the past seven sessions. Origin Energy (ORG) is 1.1% higher while Caltex (CTX) is advancing 1.4%. Financials are also higher despite a mixed session so far for the four major banks. National Bank (NAB) is leading the gains by advancing 0.6% while Westpac (WBC) is slightly weaker by 0.25%.
Materials are the main drag on the market with miners generally weaker. After trading ex-dividend and sliding 3.4% yesterday, BHP Group (BHP) is down another 0.9% while diversified miner, South32 (S32) is also weaker by 0.6%. Fortescue Metals (FMG) is bucking the trend, lifting 0.5%. Gold miners are weaker, mirroring the performance of the precious metal, with Northern Star (NST) easing 3.75% and Regis Resources (RRL) weaker by 4.9%.
The Aussie dollar firmed to 72 US cents immediately following the better than expected retail sales release for November but has eased back, now buying 71.95 US cents. So far, 0.6b units have been traded worth $1.9b with 467 stocks higher, 371 weaker and 318 unchanged.
Published by James Tao, CommSec