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The Aussie market is improving on Thursday with local shares following gains from Wall Street. The ASX 200 is up 23pts or 0.4% to 6,024 around lunch, having been close to 50pts higher at its best levels. Gains today are reversing most of yesterday’s losses for the local benchmark index.

Gains have tempered slightly following comments by Scott Morrison on the economic impacts of Victoria’s stage 4 lockdown. As a result, Federal Treasury estimates that the national economy could contract by up to $9 billion (up to $12 billion including stage 3 restrictions) while the unemployment rate could peak closer to 10% compared to 9.25% previously. The Aussie dollar has tumbled from earlier highs of 72.13 US cents to a lows of 71.84.

While most sectors are still improving, it is the resource sectors making the biggest moves. The materials sector is receiving a considerable boost from the larger miners in particular. BHP Group (BHP) is gaining 4.1% and Rio Tinto (RIO) is 1% higher even as it trades ex-dividend today. CGains have been more muted for local gold stocks even as the price of the precious metal continues to lift to all-time highs. Oil & gas names are also rallying on a solid lift for global oil prices overnight.

Healthcare, utilities and the property sector are falling most. The health sector is being weighed by losses for heavyweight CSL Ltd (CSL), which is down 0.5%, and ResMed (RMD) which is sliding 4% on the back of its quarterly profit numbers. While revenue was boosted by ventilator sales, sleep masks (which is what RMD traditionally makes) saw sales growth miss expectations.

Scentre Group (SCG) is also a weight on the market, easing 3.8% on a profit update ahead of a full release on August 25. The owner of Westfield shopping centres in Australia & NZ is expecting its property portfolio to fall 10% in value over the past 6 months.

However, Nick Scali (NCK) is jumping 15% on its FY20 profit results. It has lifted its final dividend by 13% and is anticipating a substantial lift to its sales revenue in 1H21 due to strong sales orders since May (lag in sales written and orders completed).

So far, 3.1b units have traded worth $2.8b with 739 stocks up, 430 down and 319 unchanged.

Published by CommSec