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While the Australian market is slipping for an eighth day, equities have bounced off intraday lows and at lunch the ASX 200 is down just 0.04 per cent. The index is coming off the back of its worst weekly performance in seven months and while it did hit decade highs less than a fortnight ago, enthusiasm has died down.
No progress has been made on US-China trade talks with President Trump at the weekend saying he is prepared to tax all China’s imports at ‘short notice’. Tensions between the US-Canada in relation to a new trade agreement also remain. More than 75% of Canada’s exports made their way to the US over the past year while more than half its imports came from the United States.
The banks are holding the market most at lunch. The last time the financials improved as a group was 29 August. NAB is falling after deciding to not raise home-loan rates.
The miners were the worst performers last week partly after BHP Billiton (BHP) went ex-dividend on Thursday. Fortescue (FMG), Rio Tinto (RIO) and BHP are all under pressure Monday.
Telcos are losing ground. Telstra (TLS) last week cut its revenue expectations slightly for 2019. TPG Telecom (TPM) is down 2.5 per cent although the internet company surged by 50 per cent in August on news it has agreed to merge with Vodafone Australia.
Primary Health (PRY) is up 4.5 per cent after agreeing to buy seven specialist day hospitals in QLD, WA and NSW for $138.5m.
Sirtex (SRX) is up 0.4 per cent and is a step closer to being taken over by a Chinese company. Its shareholders voted in favour of a $1.8bn bid by Grand Pharma Sphere. The liver cancer treatment company is now awaiting approval by the Federal Court.
Bega Cheese (BGA) has entered a trading half as it undertakes a capital raising from investors. The dairy group provided no details relating to the use of funds.
China inflation numbers were a little stronger than the market expected. CPI rose by 2.3 per cent over the year to August (consensus +2.1) while business inflation rose by 4.1 per cent (consensus +2.6).
The Australian dollar has continued to weaken, currently buying US$0.7112 and remains at a two and a half year low against the greenback. A stronger lift in US jobs growth on Friday has raised the prospect of higher US interest rates in less than a fortnight (when the Fed meets next).
974.7m shares have changed hands so far today worth $1.7bn. 493 stocks are up, 514 are down and 354 are flat.
Published by CommSec