Local shares are recovering from a flat start to push higher as the session progresses. The ASX 200 is now 26 points or 0.4% to 6165 despite a weak lead from global markets with the US NASDAQ snapping an eight session winning streak overnight. US markets were weaker on softer housing data.
Gains have been mostly broad based with all sectors bar energy in positive territory. The energy sector is being mostly weighed by the performance of Woodside Energy (WPL) as it trades ex-dividend. The stock is down around 4%. Coal companies are also softer following reports that Australian coal imports will be banned from China’s northern Dalian port. New Hope (NHC) is down 4% while Whitehaven Coal (WHC) is easing by 0.5%.
Financials are among the main drivers of gains with the four major banks all higher by 0.4% or more. Communications are also among the most improved with media stocks in particular among the biggest movers. Southern Cross Media (SXL) is up 4% and Nine Entertainment (NEC) is 3% higher.
It has been another busy morning of the profit reporting season with a number of companies announcing earnings results. Internet company, Netcomm Wireless (NTC) is surging 47% on the back of its first half results and a proposed $161 million takeover bid from US based firm Casa Systems.
Elsewhere, BWX Ltd (BWX) which distributes skin care and cosmetic brands such as Sukin, is rising 22% despite the company recording a 52% slide in Net Profit after Tax (NPAT) to $2.6 million while operating expenses increased more than 20%. Vita Group (VTG), which operates around 100 Telstra retail stores and 20 business centres, is firming 10% on a record revenue of $377 million for 1H19, up 14% on the prior year.
The Aussie dollar has recovered from yesterday afternoon’s heavy falls with the local unit buying 71.05 US cents. RBA governor Phillip Lowe has today provided testimony to Parliament and has re-iterated the reserve bank’s neutral bias with the performance of the jobs market a key factor in deciding interest rate moves. So far, 1.5b units have traded worth $4b with 511 stocks higher, 414 lower and 376 unchanged.
Published by CommSec