There has been a flat start to the week on Australia’s share market on the last reporting day of the season.
The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index was higher by 11.1 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 6084.9 points at 1200 AEST on Monday.
The All Ordinaries index was up 8.2 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 6269.0.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data revealed wages and salaries slumped 3.3 per cent during the June quarter as COVID-19 gripped the nation. This was even weaker than the 2.3 per cent fall of the June quarter in 2009 during the global financial crisis.
The bureau’s business indicators report for the June quarter also showed company profits jumped 15 per cent when economists had expected a fall, which it attributed to government subsidies.
On the ASX, the energy sector led the way, higher by 2.01 per cent and followed by information technology at 1.93 per cent.
The material sector, which includes the miners, was down 0.18 per cent while the financial sector was up 0.06 per cent.
The big news in finance was NAB selling its wealth unit, MLC, to IOOF for $1.4 billion.
The bank in 2018 said it would divest MLC to focus on banking.
NAB said it would book a post-tax loss of about $400 million on the divestment.
Its shares were higher by 0.5 per cent to $18.02.
Among its main rivals, ANZ was flat at $18.40, the Commonwealth was lower by 0.15 per cent to $68.98 and Westpac was up 0.48 per cent to $17.64.
IOOF also declared its financial results – a statutory net profit increase of 414.6 per cent to $147 million for 2019/20.
However this was largely due to its acquisition of the Pensions and Investments business, which is still being integrated.
Underlying net profit was down 34.9 per cent to $128.8 million.
The fully franked final dividend to be paid was 11.5 cents per share, down from a 2018/19 fully franked final dividend of 19 cents per share.
Shares were suspended from trade due to an impending share sale which will help fund the MLC transaction.
In mining, Fortescue was down 7.47 per cent due to its ex-dividend date and shares last sold for $17.46.
BHP was higher by 0.68 per cent to $37.99 and Rio Tinto rose by 0.23 per cent to $98.11.
Online energy retailer Click Energy will be snapped up by power giant AGL Energy under a $115 million buy out agreed with the target’s owner amaysim.
Click Energy sells electricity to private and business customers in Victoria, NSW, South Australia and Queensland and gas to retail customers in NSW and Victoria at competitive prices underpinned by its lower cost online operation.
AGL Energy said the deal brings it even closer to its 2024 goal to have 4.5 million customers.
AGL shares were even at $14.80.
US markets finished higher on Friday. The S&P 500 closed out its fifth straight winning week, while the Nasdaq set another record.
Economic data released before the bell showed US consumers increased spending more than expected in July.
The Australian dollar was buying 73.72 US cents at 1200 AEST, higher from 72.94 US cents at Friday’s close.