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The Australian market has kicked off the session higher, with the ASX 200 lifting by 0.95 per cent to 6,669.1. This follows the second worst two-day tumble of 2019, with shares down 3.7 per cent over Tuesday and Wednesday.

Investors remain quick to react to updates on U.S.-China trade tensions, as daily headlines on trade continue to oscillate from promising to concerning. Last night, Bloomberg reported that top U.S. negotiators expect a phase-one deal with China before fresh American tariffs kick in on December 15. Yesterday, markets slumped after President Trump said he was happy to wait another year before striking a deal.

Data on retail spending and international trade in October missed the mark. Retail trade was flat (survey +0.3 per cent) while a $4.5bn trade surplus over the month fell $2bn short of economist hopes.

All sectors are improving at lunch with energy stocks among the better performers. This follows a 4 per cent lift in the oil price on a bigger than expected fall in U.S. oil inventories last week. Santos (STO) and Beach Energy (BPT) are lifting by 4 per cent.

ANZ is up 2.65 per cent following the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s latest capital requirements for banks, which came with certain concessions. ANZ is New Zealand’s largest bank.

Afterpay (APT) is up 3.8 per cent after announcing record results for Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. The buy-nowpay-later company made $160m in sales and added 140,000 new customers in just two days.

Whitehaven (WHC) is down 9 per cent after lowering its production and sales forecasts for the year and flagging higher costs. The NSW based coal miner blamed this on a shortage of skilled labour and the drought.

Bellamy’s (BAL) investors have overwhelmingly backed the infant formula marker’s $1.5bn takeover by a Chinese company. BAL shares have surged 80 per cent Year-to-Date.

Bubs Australia (BUB) entered a trading halt this morning ahead of a capital raising announcement. BUB shares have more than doubled in value this year.

Metcash (MTS) posted a $151.6m first half loss today, impacted by a $237m writedown announced days ago due to the loss of its key 7-Eleven contract.

1.2bn shares have changed hands so far worth $2.8bn. 632 stocks are up, 355 down and 315 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec