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Local shares are easing a touch at lunch on Thursday. The ASX 200 is trading in a narrow range for the first few hours of the session and is down 16 points or 0.25% to 6,666 at lunch. This follows a decline on US markets overnight with losses for the Dow Jones and S&P500 indices, just a day after record closes for both. The tech heavy NASDAQ managed a small gain and record close.

While the local index is slightly weaker tody, November continues to be one of the best months in some time with the ASX 200 still surging ~12.5% with only three sessions remaining for the month.

Today, it has been the financials and energy sectors weighing most with smaller losses for communications, industrials and materials. Similarly to the US, our tech sector is the standout closely followed by utilities while consumer and health sectors also advance.

Individually, the big four banks are the largest drag on the ASX with losses as much as 1.5% for the National Bank (NAB). Still, the major lenders are trading around the best levels in 8 months. Investment bank, Macquarie Group (MQG) is also down 1.5% and is another weight on the market.

Helping to minimise broader losses are gains for Afterpay (APT), with a 2% lift. Supermarket giants Woolworths (WOW) and Coles Group (COL) are also gaining up to 1% while Wesfarmers (WES) is another winner with a gain of 0.8%.

In company news, Bega Cheese (BGA) is in a trading halt after agreeing to buy Lion Dairy & Drink (brands include Dairy Farmers, Dare Iced Coffee, Daily Juice and more) for $534 million. The sale is likely for January 2021 with BGA looking to raise $401 million via an entitlement offer and placement to fund the purchase.

Elsewhere, Galaxy Resources (GXY) has resumed trade following the completion of the $124 million institutional portion of its total $161 million entitlement offer. GXY is 1.3% higher.

The Aussie dollar is little changed in the local session and buys 73.72 US cents.

Published by CommSec