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Aussie shares are edging higher and recovering some of Tuesday’s losses with the ASX 200 lifting 10 points or 0.16 per cent to 6624 at lunch on Wednesday. There was again little direction from overseas markets with another mixed session on Wall Street overnight.

The improvements are predominantly coming from the financials and materials sectors with consumer discretionary stocks also pushing higher. As was the case yesterday, the major lenders and miners are boosting the broader market most. The big four banks are all higher with both Westpac (WBC) and ANZ Bank (ANZ) climbing 1 per cent or more.

Miners are generally higher with BHP Group (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals (FMG) benefitting from a pickup in iron ore prices. RIO is the standout with a gain of 1.9 per cent. Lithium miner, Orocobre (ORE) is among the best performers on the ASX 200, advancing 5 per cent. Gold miners are also arresting a slide starting from last week despite another fall for the price of the precious metal. Energy producers are mostly higher as OPEC nations continue to mull over production cuts to maintain crude oil prices.

A number of retail stocks are improving despite a 1.7 per cent fall for September consumer confidence. Flight Centre (FLT) and the operator of brands such as Smiggle & Just Jeans, Premier Investments (PMV) are both more than 1 per cent higher. Wesfarmers (WES) is up 0.8 percent. Not all retailers are improving with JB Hi-Fi (JBH) don 0.2 per cent.

Again, the healthcare and IT sectors are underperforming most. Blood plasma firm, CSL Ltd (CSL) is the largest individual weight on the ASX 200 for a second consecutive session. Appen (APX) and Xero (XRO) are among the worst performing tech names, down 5.5 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively. However, Mesoblast (MSB) is
jumping another 10 per cent after a 22 per cent gain yesterday as it partnered with a German pharmaceutical company to commercialise cell therapy for lower back pain.

While consumer stocks have mostly ignored the weaker consumer confidence reading, the Aussie dollar has eased slightly to 68.55 US cents. So far, 1.6b units have changed hands worth $2.5b with 545 stocks higher, 417 softer and 317 unchanged.

Published by CommSec