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The Aussie market is firmly higher at lunch on Friday, and on track for a second weekly improvement in a row, with the ASX 200 rallying 89 points or 1.5% to 5,965. This is despite another choppy session on Wall Street overnight where the major US indices eked out small gains as investors continue to assess potential risks to the US economy.

The big move on the local front is mostly down to the strength among financials, and in particular, the big four banks. The major lenders are adding nearly half of the total ASX 200 gains on news that Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will roll back responsible lending laws first introduced in 2009, following the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008.

The reasoning is that it will make it easier for banks to approve loans which will ease and improve the flow of credit in the economy, which has suffered from the COVID19 pandemic. Westpac (WBC) and the National Bank (NAB) are the standouts with gains of 6.7% or more while ANZ Bank (ANZ) is 5.3% higher and Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is climbing 3.7%.

Most other sectors are also advancing with the materials the next best, following a rebound in iron ore and gold prices. Our largest miner, BHP Group (BHP) is lifting 2.1% with a 1.5% gain for our next biggest miner, Rio Tinto (RIO). Gold names like Newcrest Mining (NCM) and Northern Star (NST) are also 2% or more higher.

The only sector in decline are consumer staples. For the staples, both Coles Group (COL) and Woolworths (WOW) are both in reverse while biotech giant.

In company news, Premier Investments (PMV) is down 0.7% with the retail group reporting a dip in FY20 sales due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions. Total sales fell 4.3% to $1.22 billion as a number of stores, particularly across its Smiggle brand, were permanently closed. PMV saw a massive jump in online sales with a record $220 million while net profit also rose 29% to $138 million.

Published by CommSec