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The Australian sharemarket is lifting for a second day, with the ASX 200 up by 0.5 per cent at midday thanks to gains from resource stocks. This follows a slow start to trade, when local stocks were down by as much as 0.44 per cent on the open. This coincided with news that troubled Chinese property developer, Evergrande agreed to repay creditors interest due tomorrow, China’s central bank injecting additional funds into the financial system, the Democrats controlled House of Representatives passing a bill to fund the US government to December 3 and futures pointing to a firmer star tonight in the United States.

Keep in mind that the Australian sharemarket fell by 2.1 per cent on Monday, making it the worst day since February 26 for local stocks and the worst start to a new week in 15 months. Markets have been shaky so far this month partly because of iron ore prices sinking to 16-month lows, concerns that China’s second largest property developer could default together with US debt-ceiling worries.

The price of iron ore was flat yesterday, remaining at US$94 per tonne as China’s market remained shut for a second day due to public holidays. In a continued effort by China to reduce emissions ahead of February’s Winter Olympics, China continued to limit steel production. The steel making industry is a major polluter, accounting for ~1 per cent of China’s emissions. The iron ore price has slumped by $139 or close to 60 per cent from the record high hit on May 14. Most of the major producers have bounced back strongly over the past hour, with BHP, Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue (FMG) all lifting.

This morning’s Melbourne earthquake seem to be holding back our major insurers, including IAG and Suncorp (SUN). Both are paying investors dividends today.

Zip Co (Z1P) is entering the Indian buy-now-pay-later market via a US$50m investment in ZestMoney, one of India’s largest BNPL companies. ZestMoney has approximately 11 million registered users.

Adbri (ABC) is down just 1.5c or 0.45 per cent despite trading exdividend for its 5.5c interim dividend today. The dividend will be paid to eligible shareholders on October 6.

Challenger (CGF), IOOF (IFL), IAG, Sandfire (SFR), Sonic (SHL), Reckon (RKN), Suncorp (SN), Aurizon (AZJ) and Endeavour (EDV) are all due to distribute dividends to investors today.

X2M Connect (X2M) has made its ASX debut this morning, lifting by 8 per cent. X2M is a company that connects devices like water and gas meters to the internet.

3.4bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $3.1bn. 761 stocks are up, 555 are down and 386 are flat.

Published by CommSec