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Australian shares are off to a better start on Thursday, lifting by 0.4 per cent and snapping a three day losing streak which led the market to a two-week low yesterday. The ASX 200 remains below 6000pts however but is being well supported today by gains from the major banks.
US markets eased overnight with concerns of a potential US government shutdown due to a funding deadline for the debt ceiling which is quickly approaching.
Nufarm (NUF) is down 2.5 per cent after the crop protection company warned of lower profits due to sluggish trade in November and a manufacturing plant shutdown in Melbourne. NUF now expects underlying earnings between $70-$80m.
Slater & Gordon (SGH) is down 9 per cent after lifting by 13 per cent yesterday. Shareholders of the law firm voted in favour of a rescue plan which gives control of the group to an organisation in the US. SGH became the world’s first law firm to go public back in 2007.
Mining stocks are sluggish following falls in the price of oil, iron ore and most base metals last night. Both BHP Billiton (BHP) and South32 (S32) are coming under pressure. (KGN) is up 4.5 per cent following Amazon’s underwhelming Aussie debut on Tuesday. Amazon is yet to undercut other retailers on price and seems to have given investors a sense of security this week. Bricks and mortar retailers like JB Hi-Fi (JBH), Harvey Norman (HVN) and Myer (MYR) are all down today. Moving forward, Amazon still poses a significant risk to other retailers. It is the world’s largest online retailer and is larger than Australia’s 10 biggest companies combined.
TPG Telecom (TPM) is up 2.5 per cent. Australia’s second largest telco seemed optimistic about the impact of its planned mobile network at its AGM yesterday. TPM received a broker upgrade this morning.
The ACCC said it will not get in the way of a proposed merger of Foxtel and Fox Sports Australia. There is a chance the merged company could make its ASX debut in the next six months. It would leave News Corp (NWS) with a 65 per cent stake in the newly formed company and Telstra (TLS) with 35 per cent interest.
Australia’s trade surplus in October fell to $105m; down from $1.6bn in September.
1.7bn shares have changed hands so far today, worth $1.8bn. 547 stocks are up, 504 down and 358 are flat.
Originally published by CommSec