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Aussie shares are looking to finish the week on a high with the ASX 200 advancing at lunch on Friday. The main index is climbing 36 points or 0.58% to 6164 and despite advancing for only the second time in the last 12 session, the index is looking for a weekly gain.
The gains have been mostly broad based with heavyweight financials and materials leading the moves. All four major banks are improving with Westpac (WBC) leading the gains, up 0.9%. Wealth manager, AMP Ltd (AMP) continues to trade around 15 year lows with a fall of 0.7%.
BHP Billiton (BHP) is lifting 1.6% and is the largest individual contributor to broader market gains (adding roughly 5 points to the ASX 200 index). Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue Metals (FMG) ae also on the rise with iron ore rising 1.7% overnight.
Energy stocks are continuing its gains despite a 2% slide in crude oil from its recent 4-month highs. Woodside (WPL) is 0.3% higher while Oil Search (OSH) is up 0.5%.
Healthcare names are also pushing ahead with Australia’s largest listed health stock, CSL Ltd (CSL) gaining 1.2% while ResMed (RMD) is 2.5% higher.
Retail facing names are underperforming the broader market with the discretionary sector in negative territory while staples are trading mostly flat. Leading the losses are gaming stocks, Aristocrat Leisure (ALL) is sliding 0.8% and Tabcorp (TAH) is down 0.2%.  
Myer (MYR) continues to rebound from its weaker than expected FY18 results released earlier this week and is following up its 37% jump yesterday with another 2.2% bump.
With no major economic releases due domestically today, Chinese retail sales and production figures comes into focus coming in slightly better than expected. The Aussie dollar has lifted slightly on the news, buying 71.87 US cents.
To this point, 1.2 billion units have been traded worth $1.6 billion with 566 stocks higher, 385 lower and 344 unchanged.
Published by James Tao – (Author) CommSec