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Aussie shares are off to a softer start on Friday, weighed down most by losses from the banks and large miners. The ASX 200 index is down 0.2 per cent and follows a weak lead from Wall Street and a number of geopolitical concerns.
Although only around a third of companies on the ASX are lifting today, CSL Limited (CSL) is helping to minimise the losses. The largest company in the healthcare sector has upgraded its outlook for the year by at least US$80m thanks to strong demand for its flu vaccines and haemophilia drugs. CSL is now expecting earnings between US$1.68bn – US$1.71bn (up from US$1.55bn – US$1.6bn).
ANZ Banking Group (ANZ) is lifting after taking steps to continue simplifying its business. It will be selling its 55 per cent stake in a Cambodian bank which it bought 13 years ago to a Japanese group. ANZ expects a loss of ~$30 million on the sale.
Origin (ORG) is up 2.8 per cent and is standing out in the energy sector with oil prices remaining well supported near three and a half year highs.
Westfield (WFD) is a step closer to being taken over by UnibailRodamco, Europe’s largest real estate company. Its shareholders today have backed the purchase of Westfield’s global shopping centres for $32bn and is on track to be taken over at the end of the month (subject to Australian regulatory process).
Sydney Airport (SYD) is up by 0.9 per cent. 3.6 million passengers have made their way through the airport in April, a 2.6 per cent lift on a year earlier. Both domestic and international numbers are up. The nationalities with the largest growth last month were Indian, American and South Korean.
A2 Milk (A2M) is coming under pressure on Friday, slipping by 2.5 per cent and 12 per cent this week after warning of lower sales growth. Infant formula maker, Bellamy’s (BAL) has also come under pressure.
Dulux (DLX) is down 1.5 per cent after the paint maker’s half year earnings failed to impress yesterday. Health insurer nib (NHF) is down following two price target cuts by major brokers.
Although the market is on track to post its first weekly fall since March, it was always going to be challenging for equities to lift considering four banks went ex-dividend from Mon-Thur.
961.7m shares were traded worth $2bn. 485 stocks are up, 483 down and 367 are unchanged.
Published by CommSec