Local shares have started the new trading week lower despite US shares finishing last week in positive territory and defying a better start as indicated by the SPI Futures. The ASX 200 is down 23 points or 0.35% to 6288 but is recovering from its lows on the open. US shares rebounded strongly over the weekend even with the enforcement of US tariff hikes on $200 billion of Chinese imports.
Financials are by far the main weight for the local market for several different reasons. A number of the major banks are trading ex-dividend this week with ANZ Bank (ANZ) and Macquarie Group (MQG) today. Both banks are down at least 3.4%. Commonwealth Bank (CBA) shares are also easing 2.5% on the release of its Q3 update. Unaudited cash profit for the quarter was approximately $1.7 billion with $714 million in additional customer remediation provisions. Total provisions from the bank have topped $2 billion since the Royal Commission.
Energy, consumer discretionary and utilities are the other sectors to trade weaker in the early hours of the session. Property trusts are the most improved sector with Lendlease (LLC) reportedly a potential takeover target by a Japanese firm, Mitsui. LLC shares jumped sharply by up to 9% on the reports and has continued to climb despite the company releasing a response confirming that it has not received any approach for a takeover, the share price initially eased after the release but has since bounced back up to near its best levels so far today.
In other company news, Reliance Worldwide (RWC) is slumping 15.4% as the plumbing supply firm revises its FY19 earnings (EBITDA) guidance to a range between $260 million and $270 million, $20 million lower than its previous guidance. RWC says its weaker performance is in part.
On the economic front, housing finance figures for March has fallen by 2.8% for the month compare to estimates of a 0.5% decline. Investment home loan values fell by 2.7% while owner-occupied loans fell by 3.4% as the national housing market continues to cool. The Aussie dollar has also been hit by the US-China trade worries and is now buying 69.86 US cents, having been as high as 70.08 US cents during late US trade.
So far 1b units have been traded worth $2b with 443 stocks higher, 483 lower and 346 unchanged.
Published by CommSec