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The Aussie sharemarket is again treading water with the market lacking direction for the first few hours of Thursday. Investors continue to weigh up the potential outcome of US-China trade talks at the G20 summit commencing at the end of the week. The ASX 200 has edged 3 points or 0.06% higher to 6644.3 at lunch. Having said that, the index is trading well off its session lows when it was down by 34 points within the first half hour of trade.

The broader turnaround has been driven by improvements in the financials and consumer stocks while the materials and energy sectors have been the outperformers so far. Rio Tinto (RIO) is lifting 2%, Fortescue Metals is (FMG) is improving 3% while BHP Group (BHP) is 1% higher.

A major source of losses has been a number of companies trading ex-dividend, mostly in the real estate, utilities and industrial sectors. The likes of Cromwell Property Group (CMW), Goodman Group (GMG), Stockland (SGP) are down as much as 6.7%. Sydney Airport (SYD) and Transurban (TCL) are both roughly 2% weaker while pipeline infrastructure group APA Group (APA) is down 3%.

In other company news, Sonic Healthcare (SHL) is easing 1% after selling its 85% stake in German lab tech firm, GLP Systems with the sale to generate an after-tax profit of ~$48 million. Elsewhere, Bravura Solutions (BVS) has upped its proposed takeover offer for fintech firm GBST Holdings (GBT) to $3/share or ~$204 million. Both stocks are higher on the news with BVS up 2.2% while GBT is 4.6% higher.

Corporate Travel Management (CTD) shares are climbing 4.5% after the travel group appointed Neale O’Connell as its new Global CFO. Mr O’Connell will take over from existing global CFO Steve Fleming who on July 9 with Mr Fleming to continue on as Europe CFO. Rare earths miner, Lynas Corp (LYC) has signed a 10 year extension of its JARE loan facility, reaffirming its commitment to priority supply to Japanese industry. The new deal will reduce principal payments and allow Lynas to accumulate substantial cash flow from operations.

The Aussie dollar is creeping back towards 70 US cents and is just shy of the mark at 69.98 US cents around midday. So far, 1.3b units have been traded worth $2.2b with 549 stocks higher, 465 weaker and 415 unchanged.

Published by CommSec