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Local shares started the session in unconvincing manner on Friday, although the conviction of participants was limited. Market developments overnight did little to galvanise local sentiment in either direction. US sharemarkets saw erratic trade overnight. After trading in a 311 point range, the Dow Jones ended higher by 98 points or 0.4%. The S&P 500 index rose by 0.6% and the Nasdaq lifted almost 59 points or 0.8%. European sharemarkets were generally lower as investors remain focussed on trade tensions. The STOXX600 index fell by 0.9%. The German Dax fell by 1,4% while the UK FTSE index lost 0.1%.
ASX sector moves saw Utilities lead early gains, followed by Information Technology. Early improvements for Telecoms faded by lunch, whilst the retreating groups were led by Healthcare, followed by Energy and Industrials. Leading improvers over the morning were AfterpayTouch (APT) +7%, Syrah Resources (SYR) +4%, Whitehaven Coal (WHC) +2.5%, Western Areas (WSA) +2.4% and Wisetech Global (WTC) +2.3%. Leading falls in the ASX 200 was Nine Entertainment (NEC) -1.6%, Inghams Group (ING) -1.5%, Janus Henderson (JHG) – 1.4% Turnover to lunch saw 1.2 billion shares changed hands today worth an above average $3.9 billion. 596 stocks rose, 467 fell and 418 were flat.
Mirvac Group (MGR) shares were at $2.17 for a gain of 2.5 cents or 1.2% after reaffirming full year earnings guidance. The property developer expects earnings to be at the top end of earlier guidance which was estimated to be between 15.3 to 15.6 cents per stapled security (CPSS). MGR now expects earnings of 15.6 cents per stapled security (cpss) for the year, an 8% improvement on FY17 helped by the contribution of the residential division since its third-quarter operational update in April. Mirvac reaffirmed distributions guidance of 11 cpss, representing 6 per cent growth on FY17.
BHP Billiton (BHP) will provide up to US$211 million in financial support for its Brazilian iron-ore joint venture, Samarco and the Renova Foundation, a vehicle setup after 2015 tailings dam disaster. The miner said US$158 million will fund remediation and compensation programs operated by the Renova Foundation and will be offset against the BHP’s earlier provision for the Samarco dam failure. A short-term facility of up to US$53 million (BHP Brasil’s share) will be made available to Samarco to carry out ongoing repair works, maintain Samarco’s facilities and support restart planning. BHP shares were recently at $33.83 up 3 cents or 0.1%
In other news; Atlas Iron (AGO) has unanimously backed Hancock Prospecting’s $390m takeover of the iron ore miner. Shares in fintech AfterpayTouch (APT) were 8% or 73 cents higher at $9.33, helped by broker upgrades. The only economic release of the morning was Private Sector Credit for the month of May. Lending to the private sector rose 0.2% in the month, short of the 0.4% that was forecast by economists. In annualised terms the measure rose 4.8%, below the market consensus for a 5.0% increase.
Published by CommSec