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  • SYDNEY, AAP – Australia’s share market was stagnant early, although the banks and miners gained, as most of the country enjoyed the Anzac Day public holiday.

    The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 1.4 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 7062.1 at 1200 AEST on Monday.

    The All Ordinaries was higher by 1.4 points, or 0.01 per cent, to 7322.1 points.

    The indices have moved little as people in most states and territories have the day off work after Anzac Day, which fell on Sunday.

    Financial shares were the top performer, up 0.59 per cent.

    Materials, which includes the miners, was the next best category and improved 0.47 per cent.

    Consumer staples shares fared worst and dropped 1.26 per cent.

    Coles and Woolworths are due to give third quarter sales reports this week, which could show less panic-buying as Australia better controlled the coronavirus.

    Coles was down 0.7 per cent to $15.60, while Woolworths dropped 1.51 per cent to $41.60.

    Meanwhile people in Perth and the neighbouring Peel region are hoping a three-day coronavirus lockdown, due to end tonight, is not extended.

    The lockdown was prompted by two “local” infections traced to people who stayed at a quarantine hotel in Perth.

    Qantas was down one per cent to $4.94.

    Overseas, earnings from companies such as Apple and Google-parent Alphabet will attract plenty of attention this week.

    Investors will be keeping a close eye on the US Federal Reserve’s monetary policy meeting.

    Wall Street had a broad rally on Friday.

    On the ASX, Westpac said its first-half earnings due next week will be lower by $282 million, mostly due to compensating customers.

    The bank outlined money being put aside for customer refunds and legal expenses of $220 million, along with write-downs of software ($115 million) and costs.

    Shares were up 0.59 per cent to $25.27.

    NAB was best of the big banks and rose 1.24 per cent to $26.79.

    Health insurer NIB jumped nearly 12 per cent to $6.03 after investors liked its full-year guidance.

    NIB said its business was doing well despite the pandemic.

    Underlying operating profit was expected to rise from $86.9 million in the first-half to a full-year range of between $200 million and $225 million.

    In mining, Fortescue had a 3.07 per cent rise to $22.32 as iron ore prices stayed high at about $US185 per tonne.

    BHP was up 0.92 per cent to $48.00 while Rio Tinto climbed 1.25 per cent to $122.67.

    The Australian dollar was buying 77.71 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher from 77.28 US cents at Friday’s close.