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Local shares are climbing higher for a third straight day as better than expected earnings for US banks helped boost Wall Street in overnight trade. There was also no shock with Theresa May’s government surviving a no-confidence motion in British parliament following a heavy defeat for her Brexit deal. The ASX 200 index is lifting 12 points or 0.2% to 5847 approaching lunch.
Financials are also contributing to broader gains with the big four banks all higher up to 0.7%. Miners are also lifting led by solid gains for South32 (S32), up 3.6%. The diversified miner has managed a strong quarterly update, lifting its coal output forecasts for 2019.
The energy sector is leading gains for the local market as global oil prices rose again overnight. US crude inventories fell by 2.7 million barrels in the past week. Beach Energy (BPT) and Santos (STO) are climbing 1.2% and 0.7% respectively.
Woodside (WPL) is firming just shy of 1% after lifting 4Q production by 8% to 91.4 million barrels over the period. Quarterly revenue also jumped 43% to US$1.42b on higher LNG output and prices.
Coal producer, Whitehaven Coal (WHC) is lifting 4.9% after producing an 11% increase of coal in 2Q19 despite sales being weaker which WHC attributed in part to mine scheduling at its Maules Creek operations.
Utilities have been the main drag on the market with a 2.2% decline for AGL Energy (AGL) with the energy company suspending sales of coal ash from its Bayswater and Liddell power stations due to elevated signs of heavy metals in the product. Consumer discretionary stocks and telcos are also weaker. Wesfarmers (WES) is down 0.5% and Telstra (TLS) is easing 0.3%. (KGN) is among the most improved, gaining 10%, as the online retailer saw strong sales over the sales periods for Black Friday and Boxing Day for its exclusive brands which offset weaker demand in Apple products.
There is no major economic data to be released today. The Aussie dollar is trading flat so far this morning at 71.7 US cents. So far, 0.9b units have been traded worth $1.6b with 495 stocks higher, 404 weaker and 338 unchanged.
Published by James Tao, CommSec