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The Aussie market is flat at midday with local shares fluctuating between gains and losses in the first few hours of trade. The benchmark ASX 200 index is up 3pts to 6013. It was a firmer open despite losses across both US & European markets.

Concerns over the quickening spread of COVID-19 continues to keep markets moving sideways as investors
continually brace for either negative or positive headlines.

While there has been some positive news in relation to vaccines over the past few days, more recently the focus locally has been on Victoria’s daily infection rate, which again hit a new record in the past 24 hours, with 428 new cases and three deaths.

Today’s market moves so far, still have the ASX 200 on track for a weekly improvement of ~1.6% while the broader All Ordinaries is on track for a 1.4% lift.

Winners on the local market include those among the healthcare, materials, communications and consumer
staples. On the other hand, energy, financials tech and property are offsetting improvements.

In company news, Westpac (WBC) is a standout among the big four banks even after declaring that law firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers is commencing a class action against the bank in relation to the payment of “flex commissions” to auto dealers during the period 1 March 2013 to 31 October 2018.

Elsewhere, Kogan.com (KGN) is also in the cross hairs of regulators with the Federal Court upholding claims by the ACCC that the online retailer breached consumer laws in relation to an EOFY 2018 promotional campaign where it offered a 10% discount coupon but was found to have increased prices just before the discount was made available. A penalty is yet to be decided but KGN shares have tumbled 7%.

The Aussie dollar is buying 69.86 cents after falling to lows of 69.63 in late US trade. There is no major economic data out today.

So far, 2.7b units have traded worth $3.5b with 513 stocks higher, 591 weaker and 336 unchanged.

Published by CommSec