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Aussie shares are lifting for a fifth day, with the ASX 200 up 0.2 per cent and sitting at fresh 10.5 years thanks partly to strength from telecommunication companies. This follows the fourth consecutive record high for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq overnight and some improvement in US trade tensions with its neighbours.
Telcos are lifting most on news of a proposed merger between TPG and Vodafone Hutchison. While this was flagged last week, both have officially announced a ‘merger of equals’ today. Under the proposed deal, TPG shareholders will own 49.9 per cent of the new group and Vodafone 50.1 per cent. The deal would bring together TPG’s strength in internet and Vodafone’s mobile network. The new company is expected to be called TPG Telecom Limited however still needs shareholder, court and regulatory approval. Hutchison (HTA) is up 56 per cent, TPG Telecom (TPM) is lifting by 15 per cent and Telstra (TLS) is up 2.9 per cent.
Ramsay Health (RHC) is down 5 per cent after the private hospital operator handed down a 21 per cent slide in annual profit to $388m ($30m below Bloomberg consensus). The result was partly held back by restructuring of its French business and write-downs in the UK. RHC owns more private hospitals in France than any other company.
Sandfire Resources (SFR) is up 6.3 per cent after the mining and exploration company based in WA handed down a 59 per cent lift in FY profit to $123m and a final dividend of $0.19 per share.
The banks and miners are weighing on the market at lunch. Both drove equities higher yesterday. Westpac (WBC) surged by around 2.7 per cent on Wednesday and announced a lift in some home loan rates.
On the economic front, a quarterly update of business investment was well below Bloomberg consensus. Second quarter CAPEX fell by 2.5 per cent (survey +0.6 per cent) between April – June. The Australian dollar fell following the data.
1.3bn shares have changed hands today worth an above average $3bn. 559 stocks are up, 488 are down and 353 are unchanged.
Published by CommSec