The Aussie market is weaker heading into lunch on Thursday. The ASX 200 is trading 13 points or 0.2 per cent lower at 6534 after a shaky start to the session. Markets are still digesting the recent conflicting trade related headlines. SPI futures had pointed for a solid improvement on the open following reports that China was still open to reaching at least a partial deal and reviving fading hopes for progress at the upcoming US-China trade talks in Washington. Further reports have since stated that the lower-level talks have been unsuccessful in garnering any co-operation and the two day talks could be reduced to just one day. Wall Street, rebounded on trade optimism, Wall Street, which had initially rebounded on trade optimism, was expected to fall sharply when it re-opens tonight but Dow futures are retracing some of its declines.
Leading the improvements have been industrials, consumer staples and the tech sector. The big four banks have lost earlier gains with only Westpac Bank (WBC) trading higher at 0.14 percent. Wesfarmers (WES) are supporting broader gains with gains of around 0.6 per cent. The main underperformers are coming from healthcare and energy.
Miners were holding up well on early trade despite mixed trade for commodity prices overnight but lost ground approaching lunch. Iron ore fell 4 per cent on demand concerns out of China. BHP Group (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are both slightly down while Fortescue Metals (FMG) and diversified miner, South32 (S32) are down over 2 per cent.
It has also been a busy day for company news. AMP Ltd (AMP) is reportedly merging its Australian banking and wealth management units into a single organisation called AMP Australia. Elsewhere, Orora (ORA) is jumping 17 per cent after announcing the sale of its Australasian Fibre Business to Japanese firm, Nippon Papers for an enterprise value of $1.72 billion. Logistics company, Brambles (BXB) is lifting 3.5 per cent after releasing a quarterly trading update. 1Q sales revenue rose 2 per cent to US$1.16 billion while its Pallets business, CHEP saw revenue growth across all regions.
Resolute Mining (RSG) is leading declines as it tumbles 15 per cent. The gold miner advised that a key component at its Syama operations was taken offline due to crack in an external shell. Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (CUV) is down 11 per cent after soaring 60 per cent yesterday on news it had received FDA approval to market a skin treatment in the US. Harvey Norman (HVN) is also declining 6.5 per cent as it trades ex-dividend today.
The Aussie dollar is easing to 67.16 US cents. Home lending data was mixed for August with the value of investment lending beating expectations but growth in owner occupied loans underwhelmed. So far 1b shares have changed hands worth $1.7 b with 461 stocks higher, 475 lower and 334 unchanged.
Published by CommSec