Aussie shares have started the new week in positive territory. The ASX 200 is following the global markets higher with a third consecutive session of improvements. The benchmark index is 14 points or 0.2% higher at 6721, having eased from its session highs where it was 33 points higher. The moves higher for our market follows Wall St’s rally on signs of strength in the US job market and underpinning more confidence in the US broader economy.
Gains have been across utilities, communications and materials with losses from tech, health and consumer sectors lagging behind and trading lower. Financials are little changed as the major banks trade mostly flat.
The energy sector has been the standout sector as global oil prices firmed by up to 3% on news that major oil producing nations that make up OPEC+ have agreed to further production cuts into the first quarter of 2020. Major local producers such as Woodside (WPL) and Santos (STO) are both close to 2% higher with Beach Energy (BPT) jumping 5%. Rising commodity prices have also helped push most mining stocks higher.
Viva Energy (VEA), which supplies Shell petrol stations, is lagging behind as the retail and wholesale energy supplier has provided guidance for calendar year 2019 which is below its 2018 numbers, due to weaker margins and increased competition. VEA shares are down 5%.
Salary packaging and leasing firm, McMillan Shakespeare (MMS) is slumping 13% after also providing soft outlook expectations with tough trading conditions across its major markets.
Dairy and infant formula maker, The a2 Milk Company (A2M) is sliding 3.5% with the resignation of CEO Jayne Hrdlika due to the high amount of travel. Elsewhere, the Reject Shop (TRS) is 4% higher on the announcement of Andre Reich as new CEO. Mr Reich was most recently COO at Target Group.
The Aussie dollar is buying 68.33 US cents and is little changed with a quiet day on the local economic front.
So far, 1.3b units have traded worth $2.1b with 516 stocks higher, 492 lower and 350 unchanged.
Published by CommSec