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Aussie shares are treading water at lunch, with the ASX 200 steady at 6650.5. While the market has not improved since last Thursday and is slipping for a second week, volumes remain a little light as school holidays continue in a number of states.

Despite the fact the market’s momentum has faded in recent weeks, the ASX 200 is still up by around 0.5 per cent in July and is still on track for its seventh straight month of gains. 2019 (so far) is the best year for local equities since 2009.

AMP Limited (AMP) is up by 0.5 per cent at lunch after slumping by almost 16 per cent on Monday. The money manager remains near record lows after saying it is unlikely to pay investors an interim dividend in coming months. This follows the collapse of a deal to sell its life insurance business for $3.3bn. Five major
brokers have cut their price targets (expectations for its shares over the next 12 months) this morning.

Rio Tinto (RIO) is up 0.75 per cent after releasing a solid set of quarterly production results. While iron ore production fell by 7 per cent and shipments slid by 3 per cent due to bad weather, firmer iron ore prices have been helpful. The iron ore price rose by 2.5 per cent last night and remains near a five-year high. RIO flagged a cost blowout at a key project in Mongolia due to complications with the mining design of the copper project.

Oil Search (OSH) production and revenue slipped by around 5 per cent over the second quarter as expected by the market. OSH shares are down 1.9 per cent.

Atlantic Gold Corporation shareholders (a Toronto listed gold stock) have approved the A$779n takeover by ASX listed St barbara Mines (SBM). SBM said it expects final court approval by Thursday and completion of the deal by Saturday.

The weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence rating fell by 1.5 per cent to 115.8pts. Consumer sentiment is still above the longer term average of 113.1pts since 1990. CommSec Senior Economist Ryan Felsman said “…while the initial positivity of consumers focused on interest rate and personal tax cuts has waned recently, it is still expected that spending will lift in the coming months once tax refunds hit Aussie bank accounts.”

RBA Board minutes were released this morning for the July meeting. The central bank cut interest rates for the second straight month by 25bps to support the job market. In the minutes the RBA Board admitted it would take ‘some time’ to erode spare capacity in the labour market. CommSec expects the RBA to ‘sit pat’ for now, assessing incoming economic data over the coming months before decided the next move for the cash rate.

Volume remains light, with 949.4m shares traded worth $1.7bn. 508 stocks are up, 439 down and 353 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec