Local shares continue to hover around historic highs with the ASX 200 briefly breaking through the previous intraday record of 6875 on the open this morning. The index is trading near 6874 with a gain of 24 points or 0.35% at lunch on Thursday. The Aussie market has enjoyed a solid run of late with shares lifting for a fifth day in a row, climbing ~3% in that period as investors digest US-China trade news along with further RBA interest rate cuts and the potential of Quantitative Easing (QE) in Australia.
Telcos and health names are leading the charge higher with blue chips such as Telstra (TLS) and CSL Limited (CSL) the standouts. Australia’s largest telco, Telstra is benefitting from several broker upgrades following an investor day which was held yesterday. TLS shares are 2.8% higher. Biotech firm, CSL is the biggest contributor to broader gains with a 1.1% lift.
Resource stocks are also generally higher despite some falls in oil and iron ore prices overnight. Oil fell as much as 0.5% on news that US crude stocks rose significantly more than expected on increased US production. Despite this, local energy producers are advancing with Beach Energy (BPT) climbing 2.1% while Woodside (WPL) is 1% higher. Major miners are also improving even with another slip in iron ore prices, affected by the biggest fall in Chinese industrial profits since 2011. BHP Group (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are both higher while Fortescue is flat.
In company news, Evolution Mining (EVN) is weaker by 2.3% as the gold miner holds its Annual General Meeting (AGM) today. The miner did re-affirm its guidance for the coming financial year. Westpac (WBC) is little changed with the bank confirming it will allow clients to withdraw from its share purchase plan (SPP), as part of a $2.5 billion capital raising, announced a few weeks before the AUSTRAC allegations were made public.
The Aussie dollar remains under pressure following President Trump’s signing of a Hong Kong bill, which could create tension on the trade front, and weaker than expected September quarter private sector capex/business investment. The AUD is buying 67.67 US cents.
So far, 1b units have been traded worth $1.8b with 596 stocks higher, 381 weaker and 317 unchanged.
Published by CommSec