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The Aussie sharemarket has overcome a softer start and is trading higher at lunch. Local shares have lost ground over the previous four sessions, with trade tensions rattling investor confidence. It was looking like more of the same for the main index with the ASX 200 down by as much as 0.3% in early trade, before staging a recovery to push higher by 19 points or 0.3% at 6214 towards lunch. The main support for the market has come in the form of the materials and energy sectors Global oil prices rose overnight on concerns about disruptions to global supplies with oil rising by 3.7%. Major energy producers have benefited with the like of Santos (STO) and Oil Search (OSH) rising by 2%. Santos announced that it is considering paying dividends for the first time since February 2016 as it continues to cut its net debt in current supportive market conditions.
Mining stocks are also improving with most base metals climbing on the London Metals Exchange (LME) last night but iron ore fell 1.3%. BHP Billiton (BHP) and Rio Tinto (RIO) are both gaining between 1-1.5% while Fortescue Metals (FMG) is declining by 0.7%. Gold miners are also advancing with Northern Star (NST) up 2.5% and Newcrest Mining (NCM) climbing 1.7%.
Financials are also contributing to the gains with all four major banks in positive territory. Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is leading the gains, rising 0.5%. Macquarie Group (MQG) is advancing by 1.7% while AMP Ltd (AMP) is down 0.5% with the wealth manager facing a civil claim from regulator ASIC in relation to behaviour of its authorised financial planners.
Real Estate Trusts (REITs) have been among the underperformers with Stockland (SGP) and Vicinity (VCX) both down by 3% as both are trading ex-dividend. Other notable movers include Afterpay Touch (APT) down 3% while gaming company Aristocrat Leisure (ALL) is also 3% weaker.
The Aussie dollar continues to weaken against the US greenback, buying 73.5 US cents after hitting lows of 73.25 US cents in US trading.
So far today, 1.2B units have been traded worth $2.2B with 541 stocks higher, 497 lower and 439 unchanged.
Published by CommSec