Aussie shares are experiencing a choppy start to the session due to substantial moves from the banks and miners. The ASX 200 index is down 0.3 per cent at lunch (up 0.22 per cent on the open). Keep in mind local stocks hit a four-month high on Friday and just had their best weekly moves since November 2016.
The big banks are down by as much as 2 per cent after surging by 7 per cent last week following the release of the Royal Commission’s final report on Monday.
Mining stocks are offsetting most of the banks’ losses at lunch, thanks to firmer commodity prices. Iron ore jumped 4.1 per cent or $3.70 to US$94.20/t on Friday to be up 18 per cent in just two weeks. This follows one of the most devastating mining disasters a fortnight ago in Brazil, which has killed at least 157 people.
Week two of the earnings season has kicked off with companies like Telstra (TLS), AMP Limited (AMP), Woodside (WPL), Suncorp (SUN) and Medibank (MPL) all set to release results this week.
JB Hi-Fi (JBH) is up 3.5 per cent after delivering a solid half year result in a challenging trading environment for retailers. Sales rose by 4.2 per cent to $3.8bn while profits improved by 5.5 per cent to $160m over the six months to December. Investors are not reacting to JBH’s warning of a slowdown in January and increased volatility over Christmas.
Bendigo & Adelaide Bank (BEN) is sliding by 5 per cent after higher funding costs put pressure on margins and half year earnings. Its cash profit eased by 2.4 per cent to $219.8m, its interim dividend remained steady at 35c while its Net Interest Margin fell from 1.98 per cent to 1.95 per cent.
Rail freight operator, Aurizon (AZJ) and packaging group Amcor (AMC) are both lifting following half year results released this morning.
The Aged Care Royal Commission kicks off today. Estia Health (EHE) is one of the best performers regardless. The interim report is due in October 2019 while the final report is expected by 30 Apr 2020. Another round of US-China trade talks will kick off in Beijing on Thursday, IAG and CBA will trade ex-dividend in coming days which could be a weight while Chinese markets resume trade following the Lunar New Year holidays.
894.3m shares have changed hands so far, worth $1.9bn. 485 stocks are up, 441 down and 345 are unchanged.
Published by CommSec