Local shares have turned around an early deficit with the ASX 200 opening 10 points lower but the index was in the red for a brief moment. Heading into lunch the top 200 index is climbing 11 points or 0.17% to 6677. Global markets are in a bit of a holding pattern ahead of the meeting between the US & Chinese presidents at this week’s G20 summit in Japan.
Financials were leading the losses early with the big four banks down around 0.6%-0.7% but have since lifted from those lows. The industrial and utilities sectors are underperforming most while materials and consumer staples are among the strongest advancing sectors.
The gold sub-sector is experiencing the largest percentage advances as miners of the precious metal benefit from gold prices trading at the best levels since August 2013 on geopolitical tensions and expectations of lower US interest rates driving demand. Saracen Minerals (SAR) is jumping 6.5% while St Barbara (SBM) is up 4.8% and Regis Resources (RRL) is 2.3% higher.
Mining services firm, Ausdrill (ASL) is also continuing its recent run of gains and following its 10.5% improvement yesterday on the signing of a 5 year $800 million contract at a Botswanan copper mine. Insurance Australia Group (IAG) is 0.67% higher after responding to media speculation it will look to divest its 26% stake in an Indian insurance firm.
Beleaguered wealth manager IOOF Holdings (IFL) has confirmed that acting CEO Renato Mota will be appointed as permanent CEO & Managing Director while the company also continues renewing its board after receiving licence restrictions by APRA for governance breaches.
Meanwhile, Metcash (MTS) continues to decline as the wholesale distributor to retail chains such as IGA supermarkets and hardware store Mitre10 announced an underwhelming set of numbers for its FY19 earnings result yesterday. Underlying profit was lower and impacted by a 3% decline in earnings at its food division. MTS shares are down another 4.75% after falling 9.8% on Monday.
The Aussie dollar remains firmer against the USD buying 69.65 US cents. So far, 1.4b units have been traded worth $2.1b with 500 stocks higher, 516 lower and 411 unchanged.
Published by CommSec