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Aussie shares have had a choppy start to the day, with the ASX 200 up by just 0.05 per cent at 12:10pm AEST. On the open, local stocks were down by as much as 0.3 per cent and then up by as much as 0.4 per cent around one hour into the session. This follows five straight weeks of gains, two months of improvements and market’s remaining near 11-week highs.

US markets managed to lift slightly last night, with investors focused on signs of an economic recovery of sorts and the diminishing risk of a worst case scenario global recession. Markets have looked past the civil unrest in the US, President Trump threatening to deploy military to curb protests and USChina tensions for the time being.

Tuesday has been a choppy session so far. Mining stocks are giving back some of Monday’s outsized improvements, which were driven by strong gains in commodity prices. Gold prices remain near a seven and a half year high, oil bounced back by 65 per cent in May and iron ore remains above US$100/t for the first time since August last year. Fortescue Metals (FMG) hit a record high on Monday.

Banks are under pressure after lifting by ~15 per cent last week, healthcare stocks are underperforming as are supermarket chains. Winners include Zip Co (Z1P), BlueScope (BSL), some tech stocks and building materials companies like Boral (BLD) and CSR.

ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) has agreed to sell its New Zealand asset finance business for NZ$762m to Shinsei Bank of Japan.

Evolution Mining (EVN) confirmed recent media speculation it is considering the sale of its Cracow gold mine in Queensland.

Vicinity Centres (VCX) has completed its $1.2bn institutional placement with funds to be used to pay down existing debt and strengthen its balance sheet. IRESS (IRE) has completed its $150m institutional placement of 14.4m new shares at a price of $10.42/share.

The Reserve Bank is expected to keep the cash rate on hold at 0.25 per cent this afternoon, following two rate cuts in March. The accompanying one-page statement by the RBA Governor will be watched closely, with its tone potentially impacting the Australian dollar.

2.3bn shares have changed hands so far, worth $3.1bn. 622 stocks are up, 472 are down and 345 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec