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The Australian market is off to a better start on Monday, with the ASX 200 index up 0.7 per cent and is back above 6000pts thanks to gains across most sectors. This marks just the fourth gain in 13 days and comes off the back of three straight weeks of falls.
Local shares are supported partly thanks to US markets which surged on a better update on employment growth and an improvement in geopolitical tensions. US unemployment hit an 18-year low, with 223,000 jobs added in May, Italy has formed a government and President Trump confirmed his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will go ahead next week.
The banks – which have underperformed the broader market this year – are standing out this morning. Commonwealth Bank (CBA) said it will pay a $700m civil penalty to resolve AUSTRAC proceedings. CBA together with other majors are up today.
Infant formula group, Bubs Australia (BUB) is up 12 per cent after saying a supply agreement with a group in China (New Times Asia) should at least double its revenue and put its products up for sale across up to 20 e-commerce platforms. (KGN) is up almost 4 per cent on news it is moving into the white goods and built-in kitchen appliance market by the end of 2018. The online retailer has signed several supply and logistics agreements and its shares have surged by 40 per cent this calendar year.
Harvey Norman (HVN), Myer (MYR) and JB Hi-Fi (JBH) are all coming under pressure today. HVN and JBH have both had their price targets cut and are down despite a better than expected lift in retail sales. Retail spending in April edged higher by 0.4 per cent (consensus +0.3 per cent).
Vicinity Centres (VCX) is up 2.5 per cent and plans to sell a portfolio of its smaller shopping malls worth up to $1bn and could use those funds to re-invest in its larger centres in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
AGL Energy (AGL) is up 3.5 per cent after receiving a broker downgrade. Virgin Australia (VAH) is down 2 per cent. Last week, Qantas (QAN) struck a codeshare deal with Air New Zealand (AIZ) and hit an all-time high.
Mining stocks are lifting despite mixed commodity prices. Oil and gold fell while iron ore and base metals gained. The price of oil has slumped by ~10 per cent in the past couple of weeks on concerns of additional supply hitting the market. This is ahead of a key meeting of major oil producing nations scheduled for 22 June.
1.2bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $1.8bn. 593 stocks are up, 429 are down and 384 are flat.
Published by CommSec