It has been a choppy start to the new week, reversing earlier losses to climb 28 points or 0.5% to 5891.5. The index was down 14 points at its worst levels near the open. The Aussie market was tipped to open higher following strong US unemployment growth and optimism surrounding US-China trade talks helping to lift US indices.
It is a busy week for investors with the Banking Royal Commission report being released to the public this afternoon with implications for the financial services industry. Tomorrow the Reserve Bank will meet for the first time this year to decide on the cash rate. It is widely tipped that the interest rate will stay on hold at record lows of 1.5%. This week will also kick off the February reporting season with listed companies announcing half year or fullyear results over the month. Broader Asian trade may be quieter later this week as many markets close for the Lunar New Year.
Financials are pushing higher despite the pending royal commission release. The big four banks are lifting after a soft start, while all the majors are gaining more than 1%, Westpac (WBC) is improving 1.3%. However, wealth manager, AMP Ltd (AMP) is weaker by 2.2%. Telstra (TLS) is leading the communications sector higher with the telco climbing 1.8%.
It has been a mixed session so far for resource sectors. Energy stocks are advancing on a near 3% rise in oil prices with Caltex (CTX) and Origin Energy (ORG) both around 2% higher. On the other hand miners are generally weaker with Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals (FMG) both easing 1% while BHP Group is 0.3% higher.
Shipbuilder, Austal (ASB) is gaining 7.5% after upgrading its FY19 revenue guidance to $1.9 billion on a greater number of combat ships built for the US. Meanwhile, Boral Ltd (BLD) is sliding 7% as the building materials maker downgraded 1H19 earnings guidance to be broadly in-line with the prior year. First half net profit after tax (NPAT) is expected around $200 million.
The Aussie dollar has eased from above 72.5 to 72.35 US cents with dwelling approvals falling 8.4% in December with house approvals down 2.2% while apartments fell 18.8%. So far, 1b units have traded worth $1.8b with 515 stocks higher, 412 weaker and 347 unchanged.
Published by James Tao, CommSec