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Aussie shares are largely unchanged at lunch on Wednesday, with the ASX 200 down just 0.05 per cent due partly to falls from Fortescue Metals (FMG) and the big
banks.

Fortescue Metals (FMG) is trading ex-dividend for its 60c per share special dividend which will be paid out to eligible investors on 14 June. While the banks are under pressure today, the big four have surged by close to 10 per cent since the start of the week.

Despite today’s subdued performance locally, the Aussie market improved over the prior five sessions and hit an 11.5 year high on Tuesday. Catalysts have included the surprise Coalition victory at the Federal Election (market was anticipating potential Labor policy reforms) and the RBA flagging the possibility of rate cuts in coming months. CBA currently is pricing in potential June and August cash rate cuts. APRA – the banking regulator – also said it may ease some mortgage serviceability rules. The possibility of more lending has helped push banks, mortgage brokers, retailers and building products makers higher on Monday and Tuesday.

Australian Agricultural Company (AAC) posted a $182m loss for FY19. The beef producer’s operations have been impacted by bad weather including drought and flooding.

Healthscope (HSO) shareholders have voted in favour of the hospital operator being taken over by Canadian company Brookfield. Its shares are unchanged and are trading at the takeover price of $2.465.

Lynas (LYC) is up by 9 per cent as the rare earth minerals producer resumes trade. The company seems to be dealing with ongoing licensing issues with the Malaysia government and some media speculation suggests the US-China trade war could help producers outside of China (the world’s largest producer of rare earth minerals).

Energy, industrial and consumer stocks including supermarkets and retailers are mostly higher at lunch.

The Bank of Queensland (BOQ) is paying eligible investors a 34c per share dividend today.

Volume has been heavy in recent days. 1.5bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $2.9bn. 589 stocks are up, 422 are down and 360 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec