Following positive leads from Wall Street and an overnight rise in base metals prices the Australian share market opened higher.
The local bourse quickly lost ground after Telstra (ASX:TLS) reported its profit after tax attributable to shareholders tanked 33 per cent and that it would slash next year’s dividends.
But the sour mood on the ASX didn’t last long and buying resumed and thanks some better than expected jobs data, the market kicked higher.
Over half the sectors are seeing green with Healthcare leading the charge after Cochlear (ASX:COH) reported a stellar 2017 financial year.
Putting a cap on broader market gains though is the Telco space, with Telstra shares plunging.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 7 points up or 0.13 per cent higher at 5,792. On the futures market the SPI is 18 points higher.
Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.14 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.44 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.44 per cent.
Local economic news
Total employment has smashed through expectations, with employment rising by 26,000 people in July, smashing through the 20,000 expected.
It comes as the monthly full-time trend employment charged ahead for the 10th straight month in July.
The trend unemployment in Australia remained unchanged at 5.6 per cent in July 2017, also as expected.
Westpac Bank (ASX:WBC) and Charter Hall Group (ASX:CHC) have ended their discussions with global infrastructure company, Hastings Management. Both the companies entered into exclusive talks on 24 July, to potentially buy the fund manager. Charter Hall also announced it stopped its due diligence on Hastings, despite previously announcing it was an attractive expansion opportunity. Shares in Wesptac (ASX:CHC) are trading 0.27 per cent lower at $32.65.
Iress (ASX:IRE) reported its net profit attributable to shareholders fell 10 per cent in the half-year to 30 June 2017 to $29.5 million. The company which provides services to the finance sector meantime saw its revenue rise 9 per cent over the same period to $211.8 million. Iress declared an interim dividend of 16 cents per share, 60 per cent franked, payable on 29 September 2017. It also paid a final dividend of 28 cents per share 60 per cent franked on 24 March 2017. Shares in Iress (ASX:IRE) are 6.4 per cent lower at $12.28.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Healthcare, gaining 1.67 per cent to 22,765. Shares in Cochlear Limited (ASX:COH) have risen 7.77 per cent and trading at $153.88. Shares in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (ASX:API) and CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Telcos, falling 7.68 per cent to 1,402. Shares in Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) have fallen 8.55 per cent, trading at $3.96. Shares in Vocus Group Limited (ASX:VOC) and Spark New Zealand Limited (ASX:SPK) are also lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,290 an ounce and one Australian dollar is buying 79.42 US cents.