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Aussie shares are holding onto modest gains at lunch despite heavy losses from Telstra (TLS), ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) and Macquarie (MQG). The ASX 200 is up 0.2 per cent and keeps stocks near four-month highs after six straight weeks of improvements.
Telstra (TLS) is down 3.5 per cent after warning of lower profits this year. Australia’s biggest telco said that due to challenging trading conditions it now expects underlying earnings to be at the lower end of its guidance of $10.1bn – $10.6bn.
It will be a big week for the banks, with four of the five largest trading ex-dividend in the next four sessions. This is the cut-off for their dividend payments due in July and could be a weight on local equities in coming days. Today, ANZ and MQG are both exdividend and have been slumping in the order of 2.5 per cent this morning. National Bank (NAB) will trade ex-dividend on Tuesday and Westpac (WBC) on Thursday.
Specialty Fashion (SFH) is surging by 46 per cent on news it is selling its underperforming clothing brands to Noni B for $31m in cash. This will include Katies, Rivers, Millers, Autograph and Crossroads. It will leave SFH with its 110 City Chic stores (its most profitable business), plans to remain listed and is considering reinstating its dividend payments for the first time since 2014.
Healthscope (HSO) is up 3.5 per cent thanks to a takeover battle for the hospital operator. Canadian group Brookfield Asset Management has launched a $2.50/share (~A$4.35bn) bid for the company. This follows a $2.36/share offer launched by a rival group three weeks ago. HSO shares have surged by 26 per cent from the time of the first bid last month.
Elders (ELD) is up 2.7 per cent after the agribusiness handed down a solid 8 per cent lift in HY profit to $41.4m.
Engineering firm, Downer (DOW) is up 1.5 per cent after being awarded a $150m contract for the new Beryl Solar Farm in NSW. It is estimated to take 12 months to build.
Despite a 1 per cent dip in the price of oil on Friday, energy stocks remain well supported. The commodity hit a three and a half year high just last week. Woodside (WPL) and Santos (STO) are both up by ~1 per cent today.
A 2 per cent lift in the iron ore price to US$67.8/t is helping producers of the commodity at lunch. Rio Tinto (RIO), Fortescue (FMG) and BHP Billiton (BHP) are up as much as 1.5 per cent.
1.2bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $2.2bn. 531 stocks are up, 461 down and 394 are flat.
Published by CommSec