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Aussie shares have recovered from a slow start, with the ASX 200 lifting by a few points for a third straight day while remaining near Thursday’s all-time high. This follows a positive lead from Wall Street and leaves the local market in the very early part of an eleventh straight month of gains. The market last rose uninterrupted for eleven months in 1943. Markets continue to look beyond the tough lockdowns.

The spread of COVID-19 remains a concern, with Victoria and the Newcastle region entering seven-day lockdowns last night. Greater Sydney identified a record 291 cases over the past day, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian warning that numbers could worsen.

The mining sector is the main weight on our market following a 7.2 per cent tumble in the iron ore price yesterday. Iron ore prices have slumped by ~13 per cent or $25 per tonne over the past week driven by demand concerns linked to China’s proposed steel production cuts in the second half of the year. Policymakers are looking to contain production growth as a means to reduce emissions. BHP, Fortescue (FMG) and Rio Tinto (RIO) have been falling by ~1.8-3 per cent so far today.

REA Group (REA) is down 6.8 per cent despite handing down a lift in revenue, profit and its dividend. The company behind realestate.com.au, Australia’s largest property classifieds website, posted a 13 per cent lift in revenue to $928m, an 18 per cent jump in net profit and a 31 per cent lift to its final
dividend to a record 72 cents per share. The result was driven by a strong residential property market. There has been a 15 per cent lift in the number of residential listings over the year, with most of the growth experienced between April and June. REA also warned that COVID and lockdowns do pose challenges for the group.

ResMed (RMD) – a company that sells products to treat respiratory conditions – posted a 7 per cent lift in profit to US$198.4m and a 14 per cent rise in revenue to US$876.1m. Both were above market consensus. RMD was helped by a recall of products from competitor Philips and $20 in COVID related ventilator sales.

Afterpay (APT) is up 5 per cent as the buy-now-pay later group takes the gains for the week to ~36 per cent thanks to payments group Square’s $39bn takeover bid on Monday.

In a speech this morning, the Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe highlighted his thoughts that the economy will rebound quickly once restrictions are eased.

3.3bn shares have changed hands so far worth $3.7bn. 729 stocks are up, 624 down and 390 are flat.

Published by CommSec