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Local shares are pushing higher and trading at its best levels towards lunch on Friday. The ASX 200 is trading at 6523 points, 22 points or 0.34% higher, rallying from lows hit a little more than an hour into the session. The choppy moves on our market follow a mixed session on Wall St as investors look ahead to the meeting of central bankers at Jackson Hole in the US for any indications of future interest rate moves.

The ASX 200 index is on track for its first weekly gain in August, as it firms ~1.8% over the course of the past five sessions.

There has been some mild weakness in the healthcare and consumer staple sectors, which is weighing most on gains so far. Biotech firm, CSL Ltd is 0.5% weaker while the a2 Milk Co (A2M) is sliding 3.5%. Offsetting those losses are improvements for communications, real estate and consumer discretionary names. Our largest listed telco, Telstra (TLS) is climbing 1.2% with a similar gain for Wesfarmers (WES). Property business, Goodman Group (GMG) is the biggest individual boost to the market with a 4% advance following the announcement of FY19 net profit jumping 48% to $1.63 billion. GMG is also expecting more growth in FY20.

Also benefitting from profit results is BWX Limited (BWX), which distributes skin and hair care products including Sukin. BWX shares have leapt 23% despite profit nosediving 50% to $9.5 million. Sims Metal Management (SGM) has lifted even with annual profit falling 25% and the metal recycling firm lowering its dividend as trade tensions and global uncertainties drive a softer scrap metal market.

Investors haven’t been so kind to Costa Group (CGC) with shares in the fruit and vegetable producer tumbling 15%. The company saw a difficult first half particularly for its berries & citrus segments. Lithium miner, Pilbara Minerals
(PLS) has also fallen 8.5% on full year numbers. Ardent Leisure Group (ALG) recorded a net loss of $60.9 million as its theme parks business ran at a $10 million loss over FY19. ALG also confirmed it would not pay a final dividend.

The Aussie Dollar is on track to ease for a fifth straight week against the US Dollar and is buying 67.55 US cents.

So far, 1.3b units have traded worth $2.5b with 471 stocks higher, 467 weaker and 349 unchanged.

Published by CommSec