The Australian sharemarket is off to a flat start, with the ASX 200 sitting just shy of 5,900pts. While the index rose by 0.7 per cent on Monday, it hit a nine-week low last Friday, has declined for four straight weeks and is down by close to 3 per cent so far this morning. The market is currently being boosted most by gains from some miners, Afterpay (APT) and CSL Limited (CSL). Slightly better than expected monthly data out of China at 12pm AEST helped push the market off its low.
Overnight, the US market improved by 1.3 per cent, while the recently underperforming technology stocks rose by close to 2 per cent. While the US market hit fresh record highs just a fortnight ago, the gains faded last week, with the Nasdaq slumping by ~10 per cent.
In vaccine news, UK drug company AstraZeneca resumed its clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine. US
pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer proposed to expand its Phase 3 trials to over 40,000 participants. Markets are sensitive to vaccine developments.
On the coronavirus front, Victoria identified 42 new COVID-19 cases and no deaths over the past day for the first time in almost two months. This brings the 14-day average close to ~50, which will be important to maintain for restrictions to be eased further. Travel stocks are mixed however. Flight Centre (FLT), which rose by close to 8 per cent yesterday, is down by 1.8 per cent at lunch.
Sydney Airport (SYD) is sliding by 1.9 per cent. Media reports suggest that Qantas (QAN) is considering potentially moving its Sydney Headquarters from Mascot to the new Western Sydney Airport, which will be built in coming years. SYD shares have slumped by ~35 per cent so far in 2020.
News Corp (NWS), Inghams (ING), Data3 (DTL) and CML Group (CGR) are all trading ex-dividend today. Lendlease (LLC), Spark Infrastructure (SKI) and Mineral Resources (MIN) are all paying eligible investors dividends today.
3.4bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $3.4bn. 716 stocks are up, 449 are down and 345 are
unchanged. Volumes are remaining relatively light, with participants still sitting on the sidelines as a number of uncertainties remain. This includes political uncertainty ahead of the US election in November, trade tensions and COVID-19’s spread in some countries.
Published by CommSec