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Aussie shares are a touch lower for the first time in four sessions, with the ASX 200 down just 5pts or 0.1 per cent at lunch on Monday. Losses from Industrials, Property stocks and Banks are being mostly offset by gains from Energy stocks, BHP, gold companies and infant formula makers.

The price of oil surged by as much as 20 per cent this morning on news of a drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s infrastructure and the world’s biggest oil processing facility. This has affected around half the country’s oil production and around 5 per cent of global supply. Bloomberg has reported that the Saudi government is expecting to restore as much as half of lost output. While emergency reserves are likely to help stabilise oil markets, this does add another geopolitical risk to the mix. Energy stocks are surging while Qantas (QAN) – which spends more on fuel than anything else – is slumping by around 4 per cent.

Virgin Australia (VAH) confirmed it will buy back the remaining 35 per cent minority stake in its Velocity Frequent Flyer program for $700m. It expects the transaction to occur before the end of 2019.

Infant formula makers are surging most thanks to news of a $1.5bn takeover bid for Tasmania based Bellamy’s (BAL). BAL shares are up by more than 50 per cent as the $13.25 cash offer per share is at a 59 per cent premium to Friday’s share price. China’s Mengiu Dairy Company’s offer has been approved by BAL’s Board which has also recommended shareholders accept the deal. Shareholders are scheduled to vote on the deal on December 4. The news is pushing stocks like Blackmores (BKL), A2 Milk (A2M) and Bubs Australia (BUB) up by as much as 5 per cent.

A.P Eagers (APE) has taken its stake in car dealer, Automotive Holdings (AHG) to 91.1 per cent. It intends to acquire the remaining AGH shares. AGH shares have more than doubled this calendar year.

With reporting season behind us, a number of stocks are trading ex-dividend on Monday including RHL, ORA, HUB, BWR, FFI and AQZ.

Data on China’s economy at 12pm AEST has mostly come in below market expectations. Retail sales rose by 7.5 per cent (survey 7.9 per cent), production gained 4.4 per cent (survey 5.2 per cent) while fixed investment improved by 5.5 per cent (survey 5.7 per cent) over the year to August. This continues to highlight a slowing Chinese economy and the impact of the US trade war. The Australian dollar has softened.

1.8bn shares have changed hands on Monday worth a well above average $4bn. 529 stocks are up, 549 are down and 344 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec