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The Australian sharemarket is putting an end to a three-day winning streak, with the ASX 200 down 0.3 per cent or 19pts to 6,666.9 at lunch. Note that equities hit an 11.5 year high on Thursday and are only ~2.5 per cent away from hitting record highs.

One of the catalysts for firmer markets has been discussions of lower interest rates in a number of countries. The S&P 500 hit a record high overnight.

Mining and energy stocks are surging today thanks to a big lift in commodity prices last night. Iron ore surged 2.9 per cent to US$117.55/t to a five-year high on rising supply concerns. One of the drivers is Rio Tinto (RIO) reducing its guidance for the year due to an issue at a mine in the Pilbara. The price of iron ore has surged by more than 60 per cent so far in 2019. Fortescue Metals (FMG) is up 2.4 per cent at lunch.

The price of oil surged by 5.4 per cent on news that a US drone was shot down in international waters near Iran partly on concerns of the situation souring. Woodside Petroleum (WPL) is the best in the energy sector, lifting by 2.7 per cent.

Gold jumped 3.6 per cent to US$1396.90 and has breached a five-year high. The prospect of lower US interest rates and a softer US dollar can make gold more attractive for some investors. Newcrest Mining (NCM) is up 1.3 per cent.

CSL Limited (CSL) is down 3 per cent and is the main weight on the market at lunch. CSL has flagged a one-off drop in sales of some of its blood products in China over the next year due to a change to its distribution model. CSL said this is a one-off and sales should return to normal the following year.

Dulux (DLX) is down 4.5 per cent or 44c to $9.32 as it trades ex-dividend. The paint maker will pay eligible investors 43c in dividends (15c interim and 28c special) on 28 June.

Elders (ELD), Kathmandu (KMD) and OFX Group (OFX) all pay dividends to shareholders today. Billions in dividends will be paid to shareholders over the next fortnight from banks. Westpac (WBC) will pay investors a 94c dividend on Monday while ANZ, NAB and Macquarie will distribute payments a week later.

1.4bn shares have changed hands so far worth an above average $2.7bn. 573 stocks are up, 475 down and 396 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec