Trump's Christmas present to the world: Aus shares 0.1% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

Wall Street breathed a sigh of relief amid the trade war with US equities clawing back from the previous session’s losses. It comes as US President Donald Trump pushed back new tariffs saying in a press conference, ‘we’re doing this for the Christmas season… just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on US customers'. So, now the new 10 per cent tariff on $300 billion of Chinese goods will come into effect from December 15, instead of September 1.

We also saw the US trade representative remove items from the China tariff list altogether, from cellphones, laptops, video game consoles and some clothing products, shoes and “certain toys.” That saw Apple's shares jump 4.2 per cent, Best Buy soared 6.5 per cent.

The S&P500 rose 1.5 per cent, the Dow added 1.4 per cent, and the Nasdaq shone the most, up about 2 per cent as Apple shares jumped on the tariff news.

Meantime, the Aussie dollar against the US remains at multi-year lows trading at March 2009 levels. Half of the sectors on the ASX are in the black, with the healthcare sector trading a fresh high.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.1 per cent or 5 points up higher at 6,573 points. Still about 4 per cent away from the new all time high hit late July 2019.  On the futures market the SPI is 0.5 per cent or 35 points.

Local economic news

The seasonally adjusted Wage Price Index (WPI) rose 0.6 per cent in the June quarter 2019 (according to fresh data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). That was more than the 0.5 per cent the market was expecting. Meanwhile, through the year, wages rose 2.3 per cent, in line with expectations.

Company news

National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) released its third quarter trading update, with $1.70 billion in unaudited statutory net profit and $1.65 billion in unaudited cash earnings. That’s a 1.0 per cent lift cash earnings growth compared to the same quarter last year and is in line with Citi estimates. Shares in National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) are trading 0.2 per cent lower at $27.60 at noon. Year-on-year, its shares are 2.6 per cent lower, while over the last six months its shares have gained 14 per cent.

Top 50 ASX company and property manager Dexus Property Group (ASX:DXS) announced its net profit after tax (in financial year to 30 June 2019) fell 26 per cent on the back of revaluations, which were $428.7 million lower than in FY18. Funds from operations (FFO) rose 4.3 per cent to $681.5 million and its gearing dropped by 10 basis points (0.1 per cent). Its full year distribution rose 5 per cent on the prior year, to 50.2 cents per share, in line with its guidance. Shares in Dexus Property Group (ASX:DXS) are trading 0.4 per cent lower at $13.27 at noon. Year-on-year its shares are 31 per cent higher.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is S&P/ASX Health Care, adding 3.3 per cent, while the worst performing sector is S&P/ASX A-REIT, shedding 0.9 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Aveo Group (ASX:AOG), rising 5.7 per cent to $2.13, followed by shares in CSL (ASX:CSL) which have hit a new high on another record profit, with NPAT up 11 per cent, followed by shares in and AMP (ASX:AMP).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Pact Group Holdings Ltd (ASX:PGH),dropping 17.3 per cent to $2.30, followed by shares in Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX:SAR) and St Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.7 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 1.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 1.1 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,497 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 5.2 per cent to US$89.25
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.43 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 67.88 US cents.

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