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Aussie shares have recovered from a softer start with the ASX 200 up by 0.07 per cent or 3.7pts to 6,584.1 ahead of this afternoon’s RBA interest rate decision. The market has had a quiet start to the week ahead of tomorrow’s GDP read, key updates on US jobs growth Friday and an important week for British MPs who will continue to work through the Brexit ordeal.

A monthly read on retail trade was softer than expected, with spending down 0.1 per cent in July (consensus +0.2 per cent). Retailers are mixed, with JB Hi-Fi (JBH) and Kathmandu (KMD) down while Harvey Norman (HVN) and Myer (MYR) are higher.

Australia has had its first current account surplus in 44 years, with a A$5.9bn surplus in the June quarter (survey A$1.5bn). This will help give tomorrow’s quarterly GDP read a boost of 0.6pp.

This afternoon the Reserve Bank (RBA) is widely expected to keep interest rates on hold after cutting by 25bps in June and July. The RBA Governor has indicated the Board will continue to gather information to determine whether a cut is needed.

Nickel miners continue to standout, with Western Areas (WSA) up 7.8 per cent and Independence Group (IGO) up 1.4 per cent. This is mainly because of surging nickel prices on news Indonesia is bringing forward a ban on nickel ore exports by two years starting in January 2020. This is expected to sideline around 10 per cent of the world’s nickel supply.

Medibank (MPL) is down 1.4 per cent. The ACCC has launched civil proceedings against the group, accusing the health insurer incorrectly rejected certain claims from around 800 members.

Thorn (TGA) – Radio Rentals’ parent co. – is up 12 per cent and has agreed to pay $25m to settle a class action over allegations it misled customers with regard to post-lease purchases.

With reporting season now behind us, around $30bn will be paid out in dividends in coming months. Woolworths (WOW), St Barbara Mines (SBM), Spark Infrastructure (SKI), Downer (DOW), Altium (ALU) and Oil Search (OSH) are all trading ex-dividend. With the exception of OSH which is paying out a smaller dividend, all the above stocks are coming under selling pressure at lunch.

UK Parliament resumes tonight after summer holidays. This will be a key time for MPs as Parliament will be suspended for a time starting next week. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s opponents will attempt to pass legislation to block the UK’s exit from the European Union on 31 October and request a delay through to 31 January 2020.

1.2bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $1.8bn. 491 stocks are up, 477 down and 360 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec