Overseas Market Report – U.S. Stocks Little Changed after Choppy Session
U.S. stocks finished little changed after a choppy trading session on Thursday as the healthcare and energy sectors came under pressure.
In economic news, initial U.S. unemployment claims fell by 5,000 last week to 271,000. The less volatile four-week moving average rose by 3,000 to 270,750. Claims remain at historically low levels and are consistent with an improving labour market.The Philly Fed Index, which measures the strength of the Mid-Atlantic manufacturing sector, rose to +1.9 after spending two months in negative territory. Any reading over zero indicates an expansion in activity. Economists had expected the index to come in at zero.
At the close, the S&P 500 was down 0.1%, while the Dow and the NASDAQ were both flat.
For Australian ADRs listed on the NYSE, BHP Billiton added 52 cents (1.82%) to $29.12, ResMed gained 10 cents (0.17%) to $58.24, Telstra Corporation lifted 46 cents (2.42%) to $19.44, Spark New Zealand rose 25 cents (2.42%) to $10.59 and Westpac increased 65 cents (2.96%) to $22.72.
At 7:45 AM (AEDT), the 10-year Treasury note yield was 2.25% and the 5-year yield was 1.67%.
Shares of UnitedHealth (UNH) were down after the firm cut its 2015 earnings guidance. Management now expects to earn $6 per share, down from previous guidance of $6.25 to $6.35. The firm says it is feeling pressure from the individual plans it is selling on the Affordable Care Act exchanges. UnitedHealth may scale back or exit the exchanges in 2017 if the economics don't improve.
Square (SQ) priced at $9 per share, below its expected range of $11 to $13 per share. Match Group (MTCH) also debuted on Thursday. The Match.com and Tinder operator priced at the low end of its $12 to $14 per share range.
European markets moved higher.
Germany's DAX, the FTSE 100 and French CAC 40 were up 1.1%, 0.8% and 0.2%, respectively.
Asian shares were also up on the day.
The Shanghai Composite and Hang Seng each rose 1.4% and the Nikkei 225 gained 1.1%. India's Sensex was 1.4% higher.
Australian Market Report – Local Market Expected To Open Higher
Ahead of the local open, SPI futures were 5 points higher at 5,261.
Thursday 19 November – close. The Australian market had a good start this morning on the back of a positive lead from offshore markets overnight. A broad-based rally in the big banks and miners helped push the benchmark back above the 5,200-point mark, racking up a third consecutive day of gains. All sectors closed higher with health care soaring most significantly. The Australian dollar appreciated against most major currencies.
The All Ordinaries added 104.20 points to 5,293.30 while the S&P/ASX 200 gained 109.50 points to 5,242.60.
OzForex Group (OFX)
OzForex Group announced media speculation regarding the receipt of a preliminary takeover approach. The Company confirms that it has received a preliminary, non-binding, indicative conditional proposal to acquire 100% of the shares of the Company via a scheme of arrangement from The Western Union Company (Indicative Proposal). The Indicative Proposal contemplates an all cash consideration of between $3.50 to $3.70 per Company share. The Indicative Proposal is subject to a number of conditions, including access to due diligence, retention of management and relevant regulatory approvals. The Board of Directors of the Company intends to evaluate the Indicative Proposal and will update its shareholders and the market following consideration of the Indicative Proposal. OFX jumped 78 cents to $3.38.
James Hardie Industries Plc (JHX)
James Hardie Industries announced results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2016 and the half year ended 30 September 2015. The Company's adjusted net operating profit of US$65.3m for the quarter and US$128.8m for the half year, was flat and an increase of 12%, respectively, compared to the pcp. The Company's adjusted EBIT of US$95.3m for the quarter and US$185.0m for the half year, an increase of 12% and 18%, respectively, compared to pcp. Net sales of US$450.2m for the quarter and US$878.5m for the half year, an increase of 2% for both the quarter and half year, compared to pcp. USA and Europe Fiber Cement Segment net sales of US$361.9m for the quarter and US$698.9m for the half year, an increase of 8% and 6%, respectively, compared to pcp. JHX slumped $1.34 to $16.51.
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