Australia’s share market has been trading flat, although investors have pounced on Suncorp shares after its full-year results.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 0.4 points to 6120.4 at 1200 AEST on Friday.
The index reached a session high of 6166.4 points in the first 20 minutes before it fell away.
The All Ordinaries index was up by 5.5 points, or 0.08 per cent, to 6277.2.
The financial and materials sectors were lower by 0.22 and 0.11 per cent respectively, while property and information technology were higher by more than 1.0 per cent.
Investors sent Suncorp shares higher by 8.97 per cent to $9.47 and were not alarmed by its 32 per cent fall in full-year cash earnings.
Suncorp said its $749 million earnings were mostly affected by reduced profits in its insurance division from higher reinsurance costs and a low-yield environment, and COVID-19 impacts on its banking and wealth division.
Suncorp will pay a final dividend of 10 cents per share, fully franked. This is lower from the 2019 final dividend of 44 cents.
Westpac shares were higher by 0.05 per cent to $17.27 after revealing it will sell its Vendor Finance business, which helps third parties fund equipment finance loans to businesses.
Angle Finance, which is owned by Cerberus Capital Management, will buy the operation.
The bank expects the sale to have a negligible result on its balance sheet.
Its major peers were mixed. ANZ gained 0.32 per cent to $18.52, Commonwealth Bank shed 0.37 per cent to $70.00 and NAB edged higher by 0.05 per cent to $17.71.
The big miners were also mixed. BHP lost 0.56 per cent to $38.50, Rio Tinto shed 0.31 per cent to $100.93 and Fortescue rose by 0.55 per cent to $17.96.
Elsewhere travel companies had big gains. Webjet rose 7.14 per cent to $3.45.
The stagnant performance comes after Wall Street closed higher overnight despite data that affirmed the Federal Reserve’s view of a difficult road to economic recovery.
Jobless claims in the US rose back above the one million mark last week after slipping below that level for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Tech stocks underpinned the US markets’ gains. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 46.85 points, or 0.17 per cent, to 27,739.73, the S&P 500 gained 10.66 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 3,385.51 and the Nasdaq Composite added 118.49 points, or 1.06 per cent, to 11,264.95.
The Australian dollar was buying 72.00 US cents at 1200 AEST, up from 71.71 US cents at Thursday’s close.