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Aussie shares are off to a sluggish start on Monday, with the ASX 200 down 0.5 per cent at lunch. Despite almost all sectors losing ground so far today, the local market is still near 10.5 year highs. Notwithstanding an additional fall of around 1 per cent by close of business Tuesday, July is set to be the fourth straight monthly improvement for local equities.
Banks are all losing ground, with Macquarie (MQG) coming under the most pressure at lunch. The investment bank announced a change in leadership last Thursday. The current CEO has been in the role for the past decade. MQG shares have more than doubled over that period.
AMP Limited (AMP) shares are up 4 per cent despite a number of brokers cutting their price expectations for the money manager.
ResMed (RMD) is down almost 3 per cent. The company which makes products to help those with sleep disorders is expected to post its profit results on Thursday.
Healthscope (HSO) is losing ground after agreeing to sell its Asian pathology business in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam for $279m to a private equity firm.
Ardent Leisure (AAD) is down by 4 per cent. The owner of Dreamworld warned of a $91-$95m loss from its theme park division and lower profits from its entertainment centres in theUS.
Commodity prices were mixed on Friday. Oil and gold prices fell while iron ore and other metals were mostly higher. Iron ore jumped by 3 per cent following stronger steel prices which helped boost demand from Chinese steel mills. Most of the major mining and energy stocks are losing ground.
Locally this week, several key updates on Australia’s housing market will be released. In the US, the focus will be on the Federal Reserve’s rate decision Thursday morning. The Bank of England and the Bank of Japan will also be holding monthly meetings this week.
CommSec’s quarterly State of the States report was released today. For the first time since the report started being published in 2009, Victoria has taken top spot thanks to strong population growth which is helping drive home construction. There still is little separating Victoria from NSW however which is now a close second.
1.2bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $1.8bn. 466 stocks rose, 547 fell and 384 finished flat.
Published by CommSec