Latest News Local shares are nudging higher after a slightly weaker performance yesterday as investor sentiment was dampened on weaker Chinese trade data and the concerns surrounding implications of the trade war on global economic growth. Wall Street also eased overnight on the Chinese data while US earnings kicks off this week.
The ASX 200 is improving by 23 points or 0.4% to 5796 points with most sectors making advances. The energy sector is making the largest percentage gain despite the price of oil falling around 2% in response to weak Chinese trade numbers increasing fears of weaker demand. Woodside (WPL) has lifted 1% while Origin Energy (ORG) is 2.5% higher.
Financials are another sector helping lift the broader market. Three of the four major banks are higher with only Westpac Bank (WBC) lower. Macquarie Group (MQG) is leading the gains for the banks as it climbs 1.2%. ANZBank (ANZ) is also improving as it provided a further update on the sale of its Pensions & Investments business to troubled wealth manager IOOF Ltd (IFL) after the financial regulator looked to take action against IFL for the conduct of the business and some of its executive leadership team in December 2018. The deal is likely to be completed later in 2019.
Communication and consumer staple names are among the main laggards. Coles Group (COL) is down 1.1% while Treasury Wine Estate (TWE) is 1.2% lower. Telstra (TLS) and TPG Telecom (TPM) are leading the losses for the telcos,  0.9% and 0.6% respectively.
Perpetual (PPT) is another fund manager to announce a decrease in Funds under Management (FUM) over the December quarter with the market downturn at the end of 2018 the main contributor to a $2.5 billion slide in FUM to $27.7 billion. PPT shares are down 2.4%. Education provider Navitas (NVT) is one of the most improved, jumping 12% after receiving an improved takeover offer to $5.825/share from the BGH consortium. The NVT board is intending to recommend the offer.
The Aussie dollar has recovered from yesterday’s falls and is buying 72.13 US cents as weekly consumer confidence lifted 1.4%. So far, 0.8B units have been traded worth $1.3B with 462 stocks higher, 394 lower and 33 unchanged. Published by commsec