Market edges closer to 10.5 year highs
Local shares moved ahead in early trade on Friday, with loca participant showing few signs of anxiety ahead of a US announcement on tariffs due this afternoon local time (midnight US time, 2pm AEST). Healthcare and Information Technology led the sector declines. By contrast Telecoms were the most improved group, followed by Materials. Modest gains for the banks help the market stay in positive territory over the course of the morning
In the period to lunch 1.07 billion shares were traded worth $1.9billion. 559 stocks rose, 404 fell and 354 were flat.
Energy names were higher as a group, despite global oil prices falling overnight. The catalyst for the weaker prices was a surprise lift in US stockpiles. US crude inventories rose by 1.3 million barrels last week according to the US Energy Information Agency. Markets had expected a 3.5 million decline. US Nymex prices fell by US$1.20 or 1.6% toUS$72.94 a barrel. Materials bucked the weaker trend for commodity prices overnight which saw Zinc prices fall to 12- month lows, iron ore prices fell by 85 cents or 1.3% to in thelast day to US$62.50 a tonne, a 7-month low.
Capilano Honey (CZZ) shares fell 1.2% or 20 cents to $16.50 on press reports that Coles will no longer stock Allowrie products because the honey is sourced from China and Argentina and the grocer aims to support Australian producers. The same reports cite Woolworths (WOW) saying it would it continue to stock the Allowrie products in its range.
Shares in Bluescope Steel (BSL) rose in anticipation of the US Department of Commerce formalising tariffs later this afternoon.
BSL’s operations in America centre around ownership of the North Star steel mill in Ohio, which would benefit from higher prices if tariff increases result in a decline in Chinese imports. BSL shares were at $17.69 for a gain of 3.8% or 65 cents a short time ago.
In economic news, the latest figures revealed that construction activity paused in the last month. A survey by The Australian Industry Group and Housing Industry Association said that Australian Performance of Construction Index fell by 3.4 points to 50.6 in June. Construction nationally paused into the end of the financial year as residential activity saw apartment building moderate while housing construction remained stable in June. Employment fell in June for the first time in over a year.
Published by CommSec