Aussie shares are slumping by almost 1 per cent at lunch, adding to Wednesday’s 1.35 per cent slide. Due to concerns relating to the U.S. – China dispute, the market has had its two worst performances in seven weeks back-to-back, after getting to within 1 per cent of record highs on Tuesday.
One of the main drivers of the market continues to be progress (or lack of) in the U.S. – China negotiations. This morning, Congress overwhelmingly approved a bill supporting Hong Kong protestors. President Trump also said that China isn’t ‘stepping up’ the way he wants in trade talks. This could complicate a phase 1 trade deal in December.
Westpac (WBC) is once again the main weight on our market, slumping by 2.55 per cent while approaching a 10- month low. The bank was accused of 23 million breaches by AUSTRAC yesterday. The financial crimes regulator commenced legal proceedings against the bank. A major broker cut its price target for the stock this morning.
Atlas Arteria (ALX) entered a trading halt this morning as it raises $1.35bn from investors. It intends to use the funds mainly to help pay for increased stakes in toll roads operating in France and Switzerland.
Mining companies like BHP, Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue (FMG) are struggling today following the less than desirable developments on the U.S.-China front.
A number of Annual General Meetings (AGMs) are being held today. BlueScope (BSL) is meeting investors in Brisbane and confirmed its profit goals (guidance). BSL is expecting profits to slump by around 45 per cent between July and December because of ‘weaker commodity steel prices and spreads across the Company’s steel making
business in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.’ BSL shares are lifting as it already flagged the weaker profit three months ago, which pushed its shares ~5 per cent in August.
Seek (SEK) is down 4.5 per cent after receiving a broker downgrade this morning. Aristocrat Leisure (ALL) is down 0.4 per cent after lifting by 6 per cent thanks to a solid $700m annual profit result on Wednesday. Webjet (WEB) is down almost 3 per cent after the online travel agent surged by 3.5 per cent on a profit guidance upgrade yesterday.
1.3bn shares have changed hands so far worth $3bn. 390 stocks are up, 608 down and 330 are unchanged.
Published by CommSec