The Aussie market is lifting for a fourth straight session towards lunch on Thursday. The ASX 200 is 39 points higher or 0.6% to 6724 as the index continues to hit fresh highs since November 2007. This follows on from Wall Street’s lead which saw all major indexes close at record highs on a shortened trading day ahead of US markets closing for the Fourth of July public holiday.
Improvements have been broad based with nearly every sector in positive territory. The financial and healthcare sectors are improving the most, advancing by ~1%. For the financials, the four major lenders are leading the charge with gains of 1% or more. CSL Ltd (CSL) is the biggest mover in the healthcare sector as it lifts 1.5%. The energy sector is also rebounding with the price of crude oil reversing some of its steep 4% decline from the previous session. Local energy companies are higher with Origin Energy (ORG) up 1.8%, among the standouts.
The main laggard so far has been the materials sector. Major miners are weighing with Rio Tinto (RIO), Fortescue Metals (FMG) and BHP Group (BHP) down by as much as 0.2%. Steel producer, Bluescope Steel (BSL) is down by 1.5%. Lithium miners are among the worst performer on the market so far. Pilbara Minerals (PLS) is sliding 4.8%, Orocobre (ORE) is falling 2.1% and Galaxy Resources (GXY) is down 1.7%
Communication services provider, Speedcast International (SDA) is top most improved stock on the ASX 200 and is climbing 6.8% but has fallen nearly 50% this week alone after downgrading its underlying earnings guidance for the first half and full year earlier this week. Retirement home operator, Aveo Group (AOG) is 3% higher as it announced talks with Canadian investment firm Brookfield as its preferred party for a proposed takeover.
On the economic front, retail sales in May improved narrowly by 0.1%, below consensus of a 0.2% increase. Job vacancies fell 1.3% for the three months to May with vacancies weaker in 2019 compared to 2018. Despite this, the Aussie dollar is still lifting and currently buys 70.48 US cents, the best levels in nearly two months.
So far, 1b units have been traded worth $2b with 590 stocks higher, 352 weaker and 316 unchanged.
Published by CommSec