Latest news

The Australian sharemarket has faded from this morning’s firmer start, with the ASX 200 down 0.14 per cent to 7,407.1 as losses from Fortescue (FMG), Afterpay (APT), Origin (ORG) and CSL weigh most heavily. Keep in mind that while this keeps the market just shy of Tuesday’s all-time high, it is just hanging on to its third straight week of gains.

As long as the market can avoid a significant ~1.3 per cent tumble this afternoon, June is set to be the 10th consecutive month of gains for the ASX 200. This would make it the market’s longest winning streak since 2007.

The number of COVID-19 cases identified in Sydney over the past day has fallen to 170. This follows 239 cases announced yesterday, which was the worst daily total to date. The five-week lockdown has been extended for a further four weeks to 28 August. CBA economists expect the Australian economy to shrink by ~2.7 per cent in the September quarter based on current known restrictions. The Reserve Bank will be front and centre next week as the central bank holds its monthly meeting on Tuesday. The RBA could reverse plans announced last month to reign in some of its bond buying measures due to lockdowns.

Despite the iron ore price slipping below US$200 per tonne for the first time in two months, iron ore miners are mostly higher, while the sector is broadly contributing most to the ASX 200.

In fact, BHP hit a fresh record this morning, while both Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue (FMG) did the same on Thursday.

Rio Tinto (RIO) posted a US$12.2bn half year profit Wednesday night (~A$16.5bn) thanks to the price of its main export (iron ore) doubling over the past year to a record high. RIO declared its biggest dividend ever, over three times what it paid 12 months earlier, at A$7.60 per share.

Origin Energy (ORG) is down 9 per cent at noon. It expects to recognise non-cash charges of $2.2bn in its FY21 results due on August 19.

Ampol (ALD) has entered into a funding agreement with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to deliver a national fast charging network to support the uptake of electric vehicles. ALD will deliver fast charging bays at more than 100 sites across its national retail network, including across Greater Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth regions.

1.8bn shares have changed hands so far worth $2.3bn. 646 stocks are up, 598 are down and 397 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec