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The ASX 200 has opened strongly this morning, up 53 pts or 0.79 per cent to 6777.8 follow ing gains in the US overnight and optimism about US-China trade negotiations. Financials, Energy and Industrials have led the w ay this morning w ith Gold stocks being heavily hit.

The standout performers this morning include Afterpay Touch (APT) w hich is up 73 cents or 2.8 per cent to $25.37and InvoCare Ltd (IVC) up 45 cents or 2.9 per cent to $15.68.

A number of gold and resource companies released their quarterly production reports this morning and the share prices have been hit on the back of these results. Iluka Resources (ILU) is dow n 81 cents or 7.3 per cent to $10.29 after reporting a decline in mineral sands revenue due to a 20 per cent fall in production and a 24 per cent slide in sales. Sandfire Resources (SFR) is dow n 24 cents or 3.4 per cent to $6.72 despite record annual copper and gold production. It has also announced a Scheme of Arrangement to acquire MOD Resources (MOD) for 45 cents per share. Evolution Mining (EVN) is dow n just 4 cents or 0.9 per cent to $4.97 despite acknow ledging w eaker fiscal-year production. St Barbara Ltd (SBM) is dow n 10 cents or 2.8 per cent to $3.46.

Oil and Gas company Beach Energy (BPT) also reported today and is on track to beat its full year production guidance follow ing a strong fourth quarter. This result has not impacted the share price, trading in line w ith yesterday’s close of $2.04.

Coles Group (COL) is up 18 cents or 1.3% to $14.01 after signing a long term agreement w ith global digital and technology services provider Accenture. Coles expects the deal to help deliver cumulative cost savings of up to $1 billion over four years.

Abacus Group (ABP) w ill raise $275 million at $3.95 per share w hich “w ill be used for value accretive identified opportunities in line w ith its strategic priorities and key sector focus of Office and SelfStorage.”

In the World Economic Outlook, the IMF low ered its global grow th forecast to 3.2 per cent in 2019, before picking up to 3.5 per cent in 2020 (0.1 percentage point low er than in the April projections for both years). The IMF said that “…risks to the forecast are mainly to the dow nside” partly on trade tensions.

Australian capital city dwelling prices, led by Sydney and Melbourne, w ere in a trend decline since late-2017 how ever most of the leading indicators have turned and suggest that prices could move modestly higher.

1.3bn shares have changed hands so far today w orth $2.7bn. 623 stocks are up, 414 are dow n and 327 are unchanged.

Published by CommSec