It was been a positive start to the holiday shortened week for the local sharemarket with the ASX 200 jumping to the best levels since December 2007 in early trade on Tuesday. The index is climbing 86 points or 1.34% to 6530 within the first few hours of trade as broad based gains help lift the market.
Nearly every single sector is making improvements with only the utilities sector trading lower towards lunch. The most improved sectors include the healthcare sector, IT and communications. Financials and materials are also driving much of the broader gains. The major banks and miners are all making gains of 1% or more.
Utilities are being weighed by a 6.6% slide in AGL Energy (AGL) as the energy provider announced that an outage at its Loy Yang power station could have a material impact on its results for FY20 as the station could take until December 2019 to be fully repaired. AGL also announced a renewed bid to takeover telco Vocus Group (VOC), offering an indicative proposal of $4.85/share and valuing VOC at ~$3 billion. AGL will have four weeks to conduct due diligence. VOC only ended takeover talks with a Swedish private equity firm last week, which was offering $5.25/share and led to a 17% slide in VOC shares. Today, Vocus shares are climbing 8.4%.
In other news, The Star Entertainment Group (SGR) is slumping 17% as the casino and gaming operator provided a trading and earnings update. Its FY19 earnings are expected between $550 million to $560 million, around 3% less than its FY18 earnings of $568 million. SGR blames a slower second half in domestic gaming revenue as well as continued subdued international VIP gaming levels.
On the economic front, according to the NAB Business survey, business confidence levels for May were the highest since July 2018 in reaction to the re-election of the coalition government during the month.
The Aussie dollar peaked near 70.2 US cents on Monday but has since eased from those levels, hitting lowest levels in a week at 69.57 US cents.
So far, 1.3b units have been traded worth $2.9b with 624 stocks higher, 452 lower and 395 unchanged.
Published by CommSec