The Aussie market is off to a softer start on Friday, following from weakness in global markets overnight. A downgrade by the European Central Bank (ECB) for European economic growth forecasts dragged risk assets lower. Wall St fell for a fourth straight day and suffering the longest losing streak of 2019 so far.
The ASX 200 has given up 0.73% or 46 points to 6218.1 in the early part of the session. The index is having its worst session of the week but is still pointing to its third weekly gain in a row. But today, losses are across the majority ofsectors with property trusts and industrials the only sectors to be in positive territory.
The heavyweight financials and materials sectors have been the main laggards. The four major banks are lower by more than 1%. Today, Commonwealth Bank (CBA) and Westpac (WBC) are before a Parliamentary economic committee and responding to actions taken from findings in the royal commission. CBA shares are down 2% while WBC is easing 1.4%.
The mining sector is being led lower by losses in BHP Group (BHP), down 1.3%, and Rio Tinto (RIO) weaker by 1.8%. While the broader mining sector is weaker, gold miners are benefitting from a flight to safety to the precious metal. OceanaGold (OGC) is jumping 8% on a positive trading update at one of its gold mines in New Zealand.
In other news, InvoCare (IVC) is in a trading halt after the funeral home operator looks to raise $85 million with $65 million to come from institutional investors and $20 million from retail investors via a share purchase plan. The funds will be used to provide balance sheet flexibility as part of the business’s growth strategy including acquisitions.
After a busy week on the local economic calendar, there are no major releases in Australia on Friday. The Aussie Dollar has fallen ~0.9% over the week so far, and is buying 70.12 US cents as Q4 GDP and January retail sales came in below market expectations earlier in the week.
Chinese trade balance data is still to come later today which may have an impact on our local unit.
So far, 0.9b units have been traded worth $2b with 407 stocks higher, 506 weaker and 353 unchanged. Published by CommSec