Aussie shares are lifting for a second day and the 11th time in 15 sessions thanks to gains across almost all sectors. The ASX 200 is up 0.4 per cent and is near two-month highs, keeping local equities on track to have the best start to a new year since July 2016.
US markets were mixed last night, held back by the US Commerce Secretary’s comments suggesting the US and China are ‘miles and miles’ away from reaching a trade agreement (comments which fail to encourage investors heading in to next week’s high level talks in Washington).
Almost all sectors are lifting on Friday, which is helping offset losses from the healthcare space. Miners are making a difference; lifting for the first time this week. The big banks are higher by around 0.5 per cent and energy stocks are standing out on a firmer oil price overnight.
Healthcare stocks are mainly being held back by sleep disorder treatment company, ResMed (RMD) which is down 9 per cent on its earnings. While revenue rose by 8 per cent over the three months to December 2018, the result wasaround $30m below the expectations of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
AMP Limited (AMP) is down heavily, slumping by 6 per cent after warning of lower profits. The money manager flagged a significant cut to its dividend (from $0.145 to $0.04 per share) and another $200m to deal with further customer compensation claims. AMP shares have halved in value in just 12 months.
Iluka (ILU) is up 6.5 per cent thanks to a 22 per cent lift in revenue over 2018. A lift in mineral sands prices helped more than offset lower output over the year. Mineral sands have a variety of uses including as a whitener in paints, plastics, paper and creams.
Qantas (QAN) is down 1.5 per cent and has received a broker downgrade. The broker warned of a more cash conscious consumer which could impact spending.
No major data is due in Australia or the region today. 627m shares have changed hands so far worth $2.8bn. 499 stocks are up, 338 down and 311 are unchanged.
Tonight, Colgate-Palmolive is set to post its quarterly results ahead of a busy week for both earnings and major events overseas.
Published by Steven Daghlian, CommSec