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The Australian share market opened low er this morning follow ing another volatile session for equity markets overnight. Every ASX sector started the day in the red, despite a late recovery from steep losses for the US sharemarket. As lunchtime loomed a recovery began to take hold w ith the ASX 200 (XJO) breaking into positive
territory, having being dow n as much as 47 points in the first hour of trade. Utilities, Consumer Staples, Industrials and the Financial Sectors shares had the steepest losses this morning, w hilst the recovery has been largely led by the Materials sector.

New s flow has seen a flurry of company updates, w ith numerous leading names reporting their earnings results. The tw o standouts being AGL Energy (AGL) – w hich has fallen to an 8 and a half month low of $18.80 dow n by as much as 6 per cent after they flagged a w eaker profit performance in the year ahead. Additionally, AGL announced a $650 million share buyback and flagged that they’ll be pushing into broadband delivery in an effort to diversify its core electricity and gas energy offering. Insurance Australia Group (IAG) w as the second to report a disappointing result, announcing a 13 per cent fall in insurance profit due to the large number of natural disasters. IAG is dow n 38 cents or 4.7 per cent to $7.70.

AMP Ltd (AMP) is currently in a trading halt after announcing a $2.29 billion first half loss on the back of a $2.35 billion impairment. This comes ahead of an announced overhaul of their business. They w ill aim to raise $650 million via a capital raising to help pay for a $1.3 billion three year transformation program. The transformation w ill not include its life insurance business, w hich it has agreed to sell to the UK’s Resolution Life in a deal w orth $3 billion.

Global oil prices fell by over 4.5% to 7-month low s overnight, although Energy stocks have firmed after five straight days of losses. Whitehaven Coal (WHC) is among the best performers in the sector, up 8.5 cents or 2.5 per cent to $3.44. Iron Ore prices fell another $5 overnight to $92.80 per tonne, and once again, bulk iron ore miners have firmed after recent declines, w ith the exception of Rio Tinto (RIO), w hich is trading ex-dividend today. The gold futures price rose by U $35.40 or 2.4 per cent to a 6-year high of US$1,519.60 an ounce overnight. St Barbara (SBM) leads the way this morning up 7 cents or 1.8 per cent to $3.96.

Central banks in New Zealand, Thailand and India have cut official interest rates in the past 24 hours to shore up their economies given on-going US-China trade tensions. Which has paved the w ay for volatile currency trade. The Aussie dollar is holding around 67.71 US cents. 1.6 billion shares have changed hands so far today w orth $3.3 billion. 612 stocks are up, 412 dow n and 372 are unchanged.

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