A day after hitting record highs, the ASX 200 has eased back at lunch on Wednesday. The benchmark index is down 22 points or 0.3% to 6823 following a weak lead from overseas markets. Wall St and European markets fell as traders worried over the state of US-China trade talks, which re-commenced yesterday, while also awaiting the outcome of the US Fed’s two day meeting concluding early Thursday morning (4am Sydney time). The market is pricing in a 0.25% interest rate cut by the Fed.
Losses for the financials, consumer discretionary and utilities is weighing most on the local bourse while gains for energy and consumer staples have helped restrict broader losses. The big four banks are all weaker while British based banking group, CYBG (CYB) is slumping 10% on the release of its third quarter earnings results after market close yesterday. Genworth Mortgage Insurance (GMA) has jumped 11% on the release of its first half profit result.
Crown Resorts (CWN) is among the major weights in the discretionary sector as it falls another 1%. The gaming firm has responded to a price request from the ASX, stating that it did not mislead or withhold any price sensitive information following media reports of alleged money laundering and dealings with government agencies to fast track foreign high roller gambler visas. Elsewhere, Premier Investments (PMV) has fallen 4% after the retailer received a broker downgrade and target price cut. Flight Centre (FLT) is down 3%, after also receiving a broker downgrade.
Among the biggest decliners are building product companies. Adelaide Brighton (ABC) is slumping 16% after lowering its FY19 earnings guidance. Underlying net profit is now expected in the range of $120-$130 million from $185 million in the prior year. That has seen its peers such as Boral (BLD) ease 7%, while CSR Ltd has lost 5%.
The Aussie dollar has rebounded strongly from its lows to be buying 68.85 US cents from 68.62 US following June quarter CPI beating market expectations. The Q2 reading was 0.6%, above the market consensus for inflation of 0.5%. The annual rate has lifted from 1.3% to 1.6% and beat an expected 1.5% annual inflation rate.
So far, 1.7b units have traded hands worth $2.4b with 465 stocks higher, 558 weaker and 351 unchanged.
Published by CommSec