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The Australian sharemarket is having its worst day in close to five weeks, with the ASX 200 down 1.7 per cent to 5,958.3 on the first day of September and a new season. The ASX 200 has hit a onemonth low, is on a three-day losing streak and is back below the key 6,000pt mark. This follows weakness across both US and European markets overnight. The good news is that August marked the index’s fifth consecutive month of gains, lifting by 2.24 per cent.

All sectors are losing ground, with banks, energy stocks, tech and property trusts declining by more than 2 per cent at lunch.

QBE Insurance (QBE) is down 6 per cent on news CEO Pat Regan has been sacked after almost three years in the top role. This follows an external investigation into his conduct which the Board said ‘did not meet the standards set out in the Group Code of Ethics and Conduct’.

Temple & Webster (TPW) is down 1.75 per cent after CEO Mark Coulter announced the sale of 2.4 million of his shares in the online furniture retailer. At this morning’s share prices that is approximately $22 million in shares. Mr Coulter still owns ~7.2 million shares/options in the company. TPW is in its fourth straight year of triple digit gains and is up 250 per cent so far in 2020.

Brambles (BXB) plans to extend its share buy-back after holding its AGM in October. It announced its intention to return up to $2.4bn from the proceeds of the sale of its IFCO RPC business via a buyback in February 2019.

ANZ has completed the sale of its asset finance business in New Zealand, UDC Finance. The NZ$762m sale was made to a Japanese financial services company, Shinsei Bank. ANZ already announced the sale back in early June and is part of its strategy to simplify the business and focus on its core banking operations.

Super Retail Group (SUL) is down 2.24 per cent or 22 cents after trading ex-dividend for its 19.5c dividend. Money manager IOOF (IFL) remains in a trading halt as it raises over $1bn from investors to help pay for the $1.4bn purchase of MLC from NAB. Bubs Australia (BUB) also remains in a trading halt to raise funds from shareholders.

Home prices fell by 0.4 per cent in August, making it the fourth straight month of declines for the index. Melbourne home values fell most, down 1.2 per cent in August, due to the severe Stage 4 restrictions. The RBA is expected to keep rates on hold at 0.25 per cent this afternoon at 2:30pm AEST.

4bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $4.5bn. 403 stocks rose, 824 fell and 345 finished unchanged.

Published by CommSec