The local market opened higher this morning following a mixed session in the US overnight. Aussie shares have clawed back some of yesterday’s falls in the first two hours of trade and are now trading 1 per cent higher at 5995. SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 27 points. In the US investors were rattled by a rise in covid infections and rising unemployment numbers with 1.5 million more Americans applying for income support. There are also fears of a second wave of layoffs.
Locally,the consumer discretionary sector is leading the gains on the back of strong retail trade figures out this morning.
The big four banks are enjoying a strong start to the Friday session, with CBA and Westpac both up around 1 per cent.
Energy giant Chevron is looking to sell its 16.6 per cent stake in Australia's largest LNG gas project, the $34 billion North West Shelf joint venture. A number of projects in the region have been halted over the past months due to the massive falls in oil prices so far this year. Woodside is up 2.1 per cent to $22.21 on the back of speculation it could be the buyer of Chevron's one-sixth stake.
Meantime Rio Tinto has apologised for the destruction of ancient rock shelters in WA’s Pilbara region. The company will launch a review into heritage processes in its iron ore division Rio says a final report should be out by October.
Afterpay rival Splitit’s (ASX:SPT) share price has surged after it announced a partnership with global payments giant Mastercard. The deal enables more retailers the ability to offer its services around the world. Shares in Split re trading 22.6 per cent higher at $1.69.
Local economic news
Retail turnover rose 16.3 per cent in May – it’s the largest seasonally adjusted rise ever published in the survey’s 38 years. The preliminary figures show rises in every industry. Increases are particularly strong in industries that recorded low levels of trade in April.
Macquarie has upgraded Premier Investments (ASX:PMV) to outperform from neutral. The investment bank says in light of recent online sales growth, the company's businesses are well-placed in terms of both brand and sales channels. Peter Alexander, Just Jeans and Portmans performed well over May. Shares in Premier Investments (ASX:PMV) are trading 4.6 per cent higher at $17.08.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is consumer discretionary which is 2.5 per cent higher. The worst performing sector is materials which is also the only sector in the red and is 0.01 per cent lower. The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Estia Health (ASX:EHE), rising 8.5 per cent to $1.59, followed by shares hub24 (ASX:HUB) Corporate Travel management (ASX:CTD).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Evolution Mining management (ASX:EVN),dropping 3.2 per cent to $5.13, followed by shares in Parenti Global (ASX:PRN) and Alumina (ASX:AWC).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,726 an ounce.
Iron ore price dropped 2.4 per cent lower to US$102.40.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.8 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.57 US cents.