While the ASX 200 has bounced off this morning’s lows and is only down by a modest 0.1 per cent at lunch, the Australian market continues to tread water this week as shareholders remain a little cautious with stocks near 11.5 year highs.
The upcoming G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan kicks off this Friday with both President Xi and Trump expected to discuss trade. The unpredictability of the US-China dispute together with US-Iran tensions are contributing to the market’s cautious nature this week.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called the recent US sanctions ‘outrageous and stupid’ while President Trump said the US response will be heavy in the event of an Iranian attack on ‘anything American’.
Last night, comments by Federal Reserve officials were not as dovish as some expected. The market is still pricing in lower US interest rates. This supported the US dollar overnight.
Westpac (WBC) is leading the banks lower at lunch and is down 0.6 per cent. WBC paid eligible shareholders a 94c dividend on Monday. ANZ, Macquarie (MQG) and National Bank (NAB) are set to pay dividends out next week.
Updates from building products makers CSR and Fletcher Building (FBU) both were on the cautious side today. Shares in CSR, Boral (BLD) and James Hardie (JHX) are all under pressure today. FBU is a touch firmer after announcing an onmarket share buyback.
Amcor (AMC) announced the sale of three flexible packaging plants in the UK and Ireland for $394m. This was a European Commission requirement as part of its deal to buy US based Bemis.
Afterpay Touch (APT) has decided to defer its Share Purchase Plan until the completion of a Compliance audit by AUSTRAC. APT is up 4.3 per cent at lunch.
The Australian dollar is a little firmer, buying US$0.696 at lunch. In recent weeks the Australian dollar approached a 10- year low on falling local interest rates. Firmer commodity prices and the market’s expectations for lower US rates has helped the Aussie stabilise.
1.2bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $2.7bn. 448 stocks are up, 596 down and 429 are unchanged.
Published by CommSec