The Aussie market was treading water for a third straight day in the early part of Thursday’s session ahead of local jobs data. The ASX 200 is inching higher but has retreated from session highs just before the jobs release. The benchmark index is trading at 6854 around midday, gaining 3 points or 0.05%.
Economists were tipping an additional 15,000 jobs to be added to the economy over the month of November with the unemployment rate to remain steady at 5.3%. The numbers were well above expectations with 39,900 jobs added although mostly in part-time jobs. Importantly, the unemployment rate fell to 5.2%. The Aussie dollar initially jumped to 68.8 US cents but has since settled to roughly 68.7 US cents.
So far, the tech, industrials and consumer staples are leading improvements while energy, communications and health care are suffering the worst declines. Financials and materials are little changed at lunch.
Supermarket giant, Woolworths (WOW) is down 0.2% despite the Federal Court approving the proposed spinoff of Woolies’ hotel and drinks business to a separate entity called Endeavour Group. WOW intends to implement the split in February 2020.
Meanwhile, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has raised concerns over the proposed $40 million sale of Pacific Magazines, which owns titles such as Woman’s Day and That’s Life, by Seven West Media (SWM) to Bauer Media as it would combine Australia’s two largest magazine publishers. Prime Media (PRT) shareholders have also voted against the potential takeover by SWM.
Service Stream (SSM), which provides network services to telcos, energy and water industries, is jumping 10% after being in the successful consortium in winning a 10 year contract with Sydney Water that is expected to deliver revenue of $200 million per annum for the consortium.
Beach Energy (BPT) has dropped 3% after acquiring a 30% stake in an exploration permit offshore New Zealand.
So far, 1.3b units have traded worth $4b with 515 stocks higher, 420 lower and 360 unchanged.
Published by CommSec