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While Aussie shares have faded slightly from this morning’s best levels, the ASX 200 is still up by 0.5 per cent thanks to small trade concessions made by both the US and China. Gains from banks, property stocks, Fortescue (FMG) and Telstra (TLS) are helping most. The Australian sharemarket is currently on track to lift for a fourth consecutive week and is around 3.5 per cent shy of the record highs hit six-weeks ago.

The markets seem to be reacting well to the US and China both announcing symbolic gestures over the past 24 hours. On Wednesday, China said it would remove some retaliatory tariffs on 16 types of US products. This morning, President Trump tweeted he would delay increasing tariffs on US$250bn of Chinese goods by two weeks (from October 1 to October 15). While the relationship remains unpredictable, the concessions have helped markets this morning.

Energy stocks are the main losers at lunch due to a near 3 per cent slide in the oil price overnight. Media reports suggested that President Trump has discussed a potential easing of oil sanctions on Iran, ahead of a possible meeting later this month.

Mesoblast (MSB) is up 4 per cent (up 35 per cent this week). The gains are mainly on news it struck a partnership with a German pharmaceutical group on Tuesday. It expects the deal will help with the development and commercialisation of its stem cell therapies. A broker upgraded its forecasts of the biotechnology firm.

Elders (ELD) is up 0.3 per cent. The ACCC said it would not get in the way of its proposed acquisition of a rural wholesale buying group called Australian Independent Rural.

A number of stocks have traded ex-dividend with most coming under pressure. This includes South32 (S32), Flight Centre (FLT), Independence Group (IGO), Breville (BRG), IOOF (IFL), Monadelphous (MND) and Western Areas (WSA).

1.7bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $2.5bn. 598 stocks are improving, 405 are under pressure and 349 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec