Westpac to bring back 1,000 jobs: Aus shares close 0.23% lower

Market Reports

by Kathy Skantzos

The markets flatlined this afternoon after a dip around midday. The local bourse closed 0.2 per cent lower.
As for the sectors today, Utilities saw the most gains while Materials was the weakest by the close.

The S&P/ASX200 index

At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index finished 14 points lower to 6,006.

Futures market

Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 48 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a rise of 2 points.
The Nasdaq futures are seeing a gain of 20 points.
And the ASX200 futures are suggesting a 14-point fall for tomorrow morning.

Local economic news

The Consumer Price Index fell 1.9 per cent in the June quarter, the lowest it has been on record, the ABS announced today. The June quarter fall was mainly the result of free childcare and preschool education, with free preschool being provided in NSW, Victoria and Queensland, as well as a 19.3 per cent fall in fuel prices.

Company news

Westpac (ASX:WBC) announced it will bring back around 1,000 jobs to Australia from overseas in response to the growing demand for customer support due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The jobs will be call centre roles in regional and metropolitan areas filled by new and existing employees. Shares in Westpac (ASX:WBC) closed 1.4 per cent higher at $17.70

Multinational contractor CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) is in advanced negotiations to sell a 50 per cent stake in Thiess, the world’s largest mining services provider.

Founder and long-standing Chief Executive and Managing Director of Karoon Energy (ASX:KAR), Robert Hosking, is set to retire at the company's 2020 annual general meeting after 16 years.

Mining and exploration company IGO (ASX:IGO) announced in its June quarter update released today that its production at Nova is above guidance, while Tropicana is in line with the prior quarter. Shares in IGO (ASX:IGO) saw a drop today.

Best and worst performers

The leading sector was Utilities adding 1.19 per cent while the worst performing sector was Materials, shedding 1.7 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was AP Eagers (ASX:APE), rising 13.3 per cent to close at $7.99. Shares in McMillan Shakespeare (ASX:MMS) and ALS (ASX:ALQ) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was IGO (ASX:IGO), dropping 13.2 per cent to close at $4.80. Shares in St Barara (ASX:SBM) and Orocobre (ASX:ORE) followed lower.

Asian markets

Mixed: Japan’s Nikkei has lost 1.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 1.7 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,955 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 0.9 down at US$106.66.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 2 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.12 higher at US$41.16 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.71 US cents.