Australia’s share market was slightly higher to start an eventful week which includes an expected rate cut and US election results.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 16.2 points, or 0.27 per cent, to 5943.8 at 1200 AEDT on Monday.
The All Ordinaries was up 8.7 points, or 0.14 per cent, to 6141.9.
Utilities was the best performing sector, higher by 1.71 per cent.
Property was next best, up 1.54 per cent, after home values increased across the nation in October apart from locked-down Melbourne.
CoreLogic’s national home value index rose 0.4 per cent in October, ending five months of consistent declines.
While US markets closed lower on Friday, investors may be optimistic ahead of economists’ predictions the Reserve Bank will cut the cash rate from 0.25 per cent to 0.1 per cent on Tuesday.
Board members have recently said there is still more the bank can do to help the country through the coronavirus recession.
Meanwhile, Australia’s manufacturing sector has had a marked improvement despite carrying the deadweight of Victoria’s coronavirus lockdown.
The Australian Industry Group’s manufacturing index increased by 9.6 points to 56.3 in October.
It is the first time since July the index has been above 50 points, indicating the sector is in expansion.
Westpac has had a 62 per cent dive in full-year cash earnings, largely from the effects of COVID-19 and its $1.3 billion penalty for breaches of money laundering and terror financing laws.
The bank on Monday reported cash earnings of $2.6 billion for the 12 months to September 30.
The final dividend was 31 cents per share, fully franked. This was lower from the 2019 equivalent of 80 cents per share, fully franked.
Shares were down 1.31 per cent to $17.67.
Among other banks, ANZ gained 1.88 per cent to $19.16, the Commonwealth lost 0.4 per cent to $68.74 and NAB increased 0.96 per cent to $18.78.
AMP continued its momentum from last week’s news of an acquisition offer from US investment group Ares Management Corporation.
Ares has since said it is offering $1.85 per share.
AMP shares were up 8.33 per cent to $1.65 per share.
In mining, BHP gained 0.42 per cent to $33.92, Rio Tinto crept up 0.32 per cent to $92.73 and Fortescue slipped 1.49 per cent to $17.11.
Building products supplier CSR said half-year net profit after tax fell 15 per cent to $58.7 million.
Shareholders will receive an interim dividend of 8.5 cents per share, and a special dividend of four cents per share. Both payments will be fully franked.
These dividends were lower than the previous half-year interim payout of 10 cents per share and four cents per share respectively. These were half franked.
CSR shares were up 3.74 per cent to $4.57.
In the US, most of the focus is on the US presidential election results which are due on Wednesday. Democrat candidate Joe Biden remains ahead in the polls.
Sharp drops in big technology stocks caused the US markets to close lower.
The Aussie dollar was buying 70.02 US cents at 1200 AEDT, lower from 70.33 US cents at the close of trade on Friday.