Early gains for the local market have faded into lunch with the ASX 200 edging slightly lower by 5 points or 0.08% at 6,115 around midday. The index shot higher by 46 points or 0.75% on the open following gains on Wall Street where the tech heavy NASDAQ hit another record close.
If the Aussie market maintains its current levels, it will close out the week slightly lower over the course of the past five days, which would make it the first weekly decline in three weeks.
Locally, the tech sector is also among the big improvers alongside the energy sector. The communications, real estate and consumer discretionary sectors are the others to provide support for broader market moves. Weighing most is the decline in healthcare, financials and materials with losses also for utilities and consumer staples.
Individually, biotech firm, CSL Ltd (CSL) is the largest drag on the market with a 1.1% fall. BHP Group (BHP) and Woolworths (WOW) are other weights along with the big 4 banks of which Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is down 0.6%. Macquarie Group (MQG) is 1.2% lower.
Suncorp (SUN) is a standout on the upside with the financial services firm rallying 8% on the release of its FY20 profit results. Net profit rebounded to $913 million, aided by a $210 million profit from the sale of its Life Insurance business. Cash earnings, which excludes oneoffs and other items, fell 32.8% to $749 million with sharp declines in its Insurance (Aust.) and Wealth & Banking divisions. Still, earnings were well above the company’s own guidance.
Elsewhere, Inghams Group (ING) is 3% higher with FY20 results mostly inline with analyst expectations. Poultry demand was hampered in the fourth quarter due to Covid19. BWX Ltd (BWX) is advancing 2.8% with the manufacturer and distributor of skin care lifting revenue by 26% to $187.7 million for the full year.
On the economic front, Preliminary sales rose 12.2% year on year in July, according to the ABS. While the CBA flash PMI saw mixed results for Aussie manufacturing and services sectors. The services industry has been hit hard by further lockdowns. The AUD buys 72 US cents. So far, 3b units have been traded worth $4.2 billion. 671 stocks are higher, 507 lower and 353 unchanged.
Published by CommSec