SYDNEY, AAP – Shares have fared a little better after the Australian market’s worst week on since January.
The big miners were mostly higher on Monday after taking a beating last week from falling iron ore prices and global economic growth concerns.
BHP, which lost more than 16 per cent, had its shares up at the start of the trading week by 0.74 per cent to $44.67.
Fortescue was down almost three per cent to $19.75. Rio Tinto gained 0.19 per cent to $107.44.
Financial shares, which closed lower last week, were little changed.
The top category was information technology. These shares gained more than 1.5 per cent.
Artificial intelligence software vendor Appen was up 6.5 per cent to $12.77.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was higher by 11.4 points, or 0.15 per cent, to 7472.3 at 1200 AEST.
The index has had five consecutive losses.
The All Ordinaries was up 16.5 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 7741.6.
In the US, investors will be watching this week’s Federal Reserve symposium for clues on when the central bank may begin slowing its $US120 billion purchases of government bonds.
Some are concerned the Fed may ease support just as global economic growth starts ebbing and the coronavirus’ spread threatens progress.
On the ASX, investors were unhappy with several corporate earnings reports.
Health giant Sonic Healthcare forecast significant revenue from COVID-19 testing after this service helped it to a whopping full-year profit.
The company outlined that revenue from coronavirus testing played a notable part in a 149 per cent increase in net profit to $1.3 billion.
Shareholders will receive a final dividend of 55 cents per share, 65 per cent franked.
But the performance was not enough for investors, who sent shares lower by 3.09 per cent to $41.50.
Ampol has made an offer to buy New Zealand fuel distributor Z Energy.
Ampol has offered $NZ3.78 per share and the Z Energy board want to allow four weeks for talks.
Ampol posted a first-half net profit after tax of $326 million and interim dividend of 52 cents per share.
Its shares were down 4.43 per cent to $26.31.
Shares in insurer NIB fell 10 per cent to $7.18 despite full-year profit being up 84 per cent.
Claims were fewer than anticipated and net profit after tax was $160.5 million.
Shareholders will receive a higher final dividend of 14 cents per share, fully franked.
Super Retail Group, which owns Supercheap Auto and Rebel, had its shares trade ex-dividend. They lost 5.63 per cent to $12.05.
Telecommunications group TPG continued to slide after its full-year earnings on Friday. Shares on Monday dropped 6.38 per cent to $6.16.
Among the big banks, the Commonwealth was the only one to trade higher and shares were up 0.64 per cent to $99.91. The other three dropped less than 0.25 per cent.
The Australian dollar was buying 71.60 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher than 71.32 US cents at Friday’s close.