The Aussie market is little changed on Friday with the ASX 200 down 2 points to 6,208 at lunch. The index traded in the red for much of the morning following a softer lead from Wall Street, easing as investors await news on further fiscal stimulus to support the US economy. The US election is also a little less than 3 weeks away. Even with today’s muted moves, the ASX 200 is on track for a second consecutive weekly improvement.
The broader market is being weighed by the healthcare sector which is falling 0.5%. Biotech giant and largest listed stock on the ASX by market cap, CSL Ltd (CSL) is down 0.7%. Mesoblast (MSB) is down 3% and Pro Medicus (PME) is 2% lower. The property sector is the other large decliner today with Mirvac (MGR) and Stockland (SGP) falling 2.6% and 1.9% each. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) is bucking the property trend with a 13% surge.
Major miners are in the red as iron ore prices tumbled for a fourth consecutive session overnight on supply concerns. BHP Group (BHP) is 0.7% lower while Rio Tinto (RIO) is down 0.5%, having also released its September production update. Iron ore production and shipment was down slightly on the year before. Production was down 1% to 86.4Mt while shipments fell a little sharper, by 5% to 82.1Mt. RIO has maintained its FY iron ore guidance. Copper output fell 18% as the miner had issues with its Kennecott smelter in the US.
New Hope Corporation (NHC) is 2.9% softer after announcing it will look to offer redundancies to up to 75% of its corporate headquarter employees as the coal producer looks to streamline its management structure.
Financials are helping minimise broader losses as the big four banks make small advances. National Bank (NAB) is the standout with a gain of 0.5%. Health insurer, Medibank Private (MPL) is a big mover with the stock climbing 3.7% following a broker upgrade from a major investment bank.
The Aussie dollar continues to slide against most global currencies on the prospect of a November rate cut to 0.1%. The AUD is down 2% this week and now buys 70.8 US cents, having hit lows of 70.5 US cents. So far, 3b units have traded worth $3.1b with 653 stocks higher, 486 weaker and 387 unchanged.
Published by CommSec