The local share market has powered to its highest level in seven months and its seventh positive consecutive session. The big banks led the gains with Westpac rising over 2 per cent and CBA and NAB both up well over 1 per cent. Telstra took off rising over 4 per cent after the telco assured investors it would review its dividend ratio policy to protect the payout of 16 cents a share. The materials sector missed out on today’s gains after reports China told its steel mills and power plants to stop buying Australian coal. Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has called for China to clarify whether restrictions have been placed on coal imports.
US futures are all in the red the Dow futures are suggesting a fall of 87 points. S&P 500 futures are eyeing a fall of 8 points. The Nasdaq futures are eyeing a dip of 11 points. And the SPI futures are eyeing a rise of 71 points tomorrow morning.
Local economic news
The pandemic has continued to disrupt international travel. The latest data on overseas arrivals from the ABS shows a total of 3,030 short-term trips were recorded for August. This was a decrease of 99.6% when compared to the same time last year. The USA was the largest source country, accounting for 15% of all visitor arrivals.
Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) has reportedly confirmed that 300 direct jobs will be axed from the company. In a statement to Energy News a spokesperson for the oil and gas major said an organisational review to identify the company's workforce needs has resulted in the difficult decision to reduce the size of the workforce by around 8 per cent Shares in Woodside Petroleum closed 0.8 per cent higher at $18.50.
Shares in Maggie Beer Holdings rose 14.8 per cent today to 31 cents after it posted a 237 per cent jump in quarter one online sales and announced a partnership with meals delivery service Marley Spoon.
Shares in Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) shot up today on news it has inked a deal with a consortium of French institutional investors (Primonial REIM, La Française and EDF Invest) for the sale of its SHiFT office building for €620 million.
Comparison website iSelect (ASX:ISU) first quarter earnings (EBITDA) have jumped to $8.1 million compared to $1.7 million for the year earlier period.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is telcos closing 2.2 per cent higher, while the only sector in the red was materials losing 0.3 per cent. The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Unibail-Rodamco Westfield (ASX:URW) rising 7.5 per cent to $3.02, followed by shares Virgin Money UK (ASXVUK) and NIB Holdings (ASX:NIB) The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Bravura Solutions (ASX:BVS) dropping 3.3 per cent to $3.56, followed by shares in Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR) and G8 Education (ASX:GEM).
Mixed: Japan’s Nikkei has gained 0.2 per cent Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is closed due to a typhoon and the Shanghai Composite has fallen 0.4 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,915 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 1.2 per cent lower to US$124.23.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a decline of nearly 1.1 per cent.
Light crude has gained US$0.12 to US$39.85 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.89 US cents.