The Aussie market is looking to snap its two consecutive sessions of losses with the ASX 200 climbing higher so far on Friday. The index started slow and was little changed for most of the morning and after a brief spike higher (17pts higher) just before midday, has retreated back to a more subdued gain of 5 points to 6547.
With the end of the trading week only a few hours away, local shares are on track to finish higher for a second week in a row, and if all things remain the same, is looking at its best weekly performance since the end of April.
The broader market improvement is despite a sluggish performance from the heavyweight financials sector. The big four banks are down by roughly 1%, with Commonwealth Bank (CBA) the main laggard. While wealth management firm, AMP Limited (AMP) is sliding 5% after receiving orders from regulator, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) to impose further directions and conditions on its superannuation business.
Resource sectors are propping up the market with the materials and energy sectors boosted by improvements in commodity prices overnight. Iron ore rose 3.5% which is helping lift major miners. Fortescue Metals (FMG) is the standout, advancing 4.9%. Local oil & gas producers are benefitting from a 2.2% increase in oil prices as the attack on two oil tankers in the gulf of Oman and the subsequent tensions in the Middle East is likely to put pressure on global oil supplies.
Payment services firm, Afterpay Touch (APT) continues to fall following the announcement yesterday that regulators requested an external auditor to look into the businesses AML/CTF compliance. APT slumped 12% yesterday and is down another 5% so far today. However, shares are still ~70% higher in 2019.
With no major economic releases on the domestic front, the Aussie dollar has drifted further against the greenback to below 69 US cents. Later today, more Chinese economic data is due including retail sales and industrial production for May.
At lunch, 1.2b units have changed hands worth $2.5b with 563 stocks higher, 463 weaker and 372 unchanged.
Published by CommSec