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Aussie shares have had a choppy and somewhat shaky start to a huge week for markets. The ASX 200 is up 0.3 per cent but remains below 6,000pts ahead of tomorrow’s RBA interest rate meeting and the US Presidential Election on Wednesday. The market has had a rough couple of weeks, sliding six of the past eight sessions and is coming off the back of the worst week since April. The US market fell by 5.6 per cent; the worst week ever heading into a Presidential Election.

While Victoria has had no new cases for three days in a row (doughnut days) and NSW just one locally acquired case, identified numbers in the northern hemisphere continue to concern. The US has been diagnosing around 100,000 cases each day, prime minister Boris Johnson said that England will enter a one-month lockdown this Thursday while France, Germany, Belgium and Greece announced partial and complete lockdowns last week.

Gains from ANZ, NAB, AMP, SYD, QAN, property stocks, building material companies and supermarket chains are helping to keep the market slightly positive. Westpac (WBC) is weighing on the market at lunch, following the release of its FY20 results this morning. Cash earnings slumped by 62 per cent to $2,608m, partly impacted by COVID-19 impairment charges, lower income (from very low interest rates and fee waivers), together with a lift in costs. Its Net Interest Margin eased by 4bps to 2.08 per cent and has declared a 31c final dividend (80c a year earlier).

AMP is up 8 per cent after providing further details on private equity firm’s Ares’ takeover offer. The offer is at an implied value of $1.85 per AMP share (AMP shares hit a low of $1.27 last week). AMP surged by 20 per cent on the takeover news last Friday.

Travel stocks are bouncing back from last week’s heavy falls. Very low local coronavirus cases are helpful in providing some hope of further domestic travel. Sydney Airport (SYD) and Qantas (QAN) are higher.

CSR Limited (CSR) is improving and has delivered a $58.7m half year net profit. The result was driven mainly by a solid outcome from its building products division, which it attributed to ‘strong cost control and operational efficiency’. ABC, FBU, BLD and JHX are all lifting.

SEEK (SEK) is down 7 per cent after resuming trade. The job search website has replied to a short seller’s critical report. SEK said ‘…we accept that market participants have different opinions, however this report is littered with inaccuracies. We are well positioned for future growth and remain confident in SEEK’s long-term outlook’.

Aussie home prices have increased for the first time in six months (in October) with gains in all capital cities (with the exception of Melbourne).

3.1bn shares have changed hands so far worth $2.6bn. 422 stocks are up, 799 are down and 324 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec