Latest news

Aussie shares have faded from this morning’s highs, with the ASX 200 index (XJO) barely hanging onto gains at lunch, lifting by just 0.06 per cent. The escalating US-China trade tensions continue to keep markets on edge while the index is higher mainly thanks to gold and iron ore miners. Keep in mind that Monday’s 1.2 per cent tumble was the worst performance for the local market in five months.

BHP, Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals (FMG) are up by as much as 1.7 per cent. Gold miners Evolution (EVN), Newcrest (NCM) and Northern Star (NST) are firmer thanks to a lift in the price of the precious metal.

The technology sector is struggling following a weak lead from its U.S. peers last night. Wisetech (WTC), Xero (XRO) and Afterpay (APT) are down as much as 4 per cent.

Data in China in recent days continues to highlight an economy impacted by the U.S. trade war. Infant formula companies A2 Milk (A2M), Bellamy’s (BAL), Bubs (BUB) and Wattle Health (WHA) are all slipping.

Retail spending in April fell by 0.1 per cent in April, falling short of the expected 0.2 per cent lift while a weekly survey highlighted a 1.4 per cent tumble in consumer confidence in the past week. Most stock in the consumer discretionary sector are lower including JB Hi-Fi (JBH) and Premier Investments (PMV).

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCL) is up 1 per cent after announcing the $40m sale of its canned fruit and vegetables business, SPC. CCL expects the sale to boost its profits by $10-$15m and should be wrapped up by month’s end. CCL bought SPC in 2005 for close to $500m.

Pipeline group, APA has signed a deal to supply gas for a further three years to Incitec’s (IPL) fertiliser plant in Brisbane. IPL is ex-dividend today for its 1.3c/share interim payment.

NRW Holdings (NWH) is down 10 per cent on the appointment of voluntary administrators to miner Gascoyne Resources (GCY); a company it provides mining services to.

The RBA is widely expected to cut interest rates this afternoon by 0.25 per cent for the first time in close to three years. The market will pay close attention to the RBA’s accompanying onepage statement at 2.30pm (AEST) and a speech by RBA Governor Philip Lowe at 7.30pm (AEST) tonight.

1.4bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $2.5bn. 451 stocks are up, 545 down and 345 are flat.

Published by CommSec