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The ASX 200 started Tuesday’s session in a confident manner with the ASX 200 hitting fresh record highs in opening trade. Several positive factors coincided to see the Index hit a record setting level of 6945.7 at the peak of the morning , marking a gain of 42 points or 0.6%. The foundation for the local gains was provided by Wall street, where the S&P 500 & Nasdaq closed at record highs, recovering from Friday’s declines following a disappointing non-farm payrolls report trade. At the same time US-Iran tensions have been demoted as a focus for investors, while China announced that Vice Premier Liu He will travel to the US on Wednesday to sign the “phase one” trade agreement between the US and China. The precise terms of the agreement are still unknown. The US are broadly expected to suspend new tariffs and reduce existing duties on Chinese goods, while China is expected to buy more US agricultural goods. The US are also expected to stop designating China as a currency manipulator.

Every ASX sector was higher by a decent margin in the first hours of trade. Information Technology led the gains, inspired by the record close for the Nasdaq. AfterPay Limited (APT) added to yesterday’s gains with an improvement of 4%, Wistech Global (WTC) & Xero (XRO) were each higher by more than 1% at lunch. Healthcare and Consumer Staples were among the leading improvers; CSL was 1.3% higher – Coles Group (COL) was ahead by 2%. Elsewhere banks were key contributors to the buoyant tone;  the CBA led gains for the big four, rising by 0.75%.

The Materials sub-index also stood out with a solid gain, with bulk iron ore miners all posting healthy gains led by Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), which was ahead by 1.5%, helped by a bounce in Iron ore prices in the last day, which rose by US$1.25 or 1.3% to US$94.50 a tonne. Elsewhere in the sector, battery related names such as lithium & graphite producers continued a recent recovery from a period of sustained weakness. Lithium producer Orecobre (ORE) rose 8% and graphite miner Syrah (SYR) added 7%. Gold miner Resolute Mining (RSG) jumped 5% after confirming media reports that it is in talks to sell its Ravenswood gold mine in QLD to private equity firm EMR Capital for roughly $300 million. RSG has said that no agreement has been reached to date.

Shares in payments group Spltit (SPT) rose by 8% after reporting that as a result of rapid growth, it had deployed half of its interim financing facility with Shaked Partners and announced it has registered with AUSTRAC to provide factoring services to merchants and grow its funded merchant business in Australia. Elsewhere, one of SPT’s peers, Zip Limited (Z1P) continued to benefit for an encouraging update yesterday, which saw the group realised its best quarter ever. Z1P share were ahead by 3% a short time ago.

In economic news, the weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence measure rose by 1.1 points or 1% to 107.3, marking the first lift since early December. Notwithstanding the rise, sentiment remains below both the average of 114.2 points held since 2014 and the longer term average of 113.1 points since 1990. Three of the five major components of the index rose last week.

The Aussie Dollar is buying around 69.03 US Cents. So far 1.2 b units worth $1.8b have changed hands with 624 stocks higher, 393 weaker and 334 unchanged.

Published by CommSec