Headline indices of the Australia share market were mild higher on Friday 23 August 2019, on caution ahead of a speech by U. S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell later in the for any indications of future interest rate moves. ASX sectors were mixed with gains in shares of communications, real estate and consumer discretionary issues offset weakness in the healthcare and consumer staple sectors. Around late afternoon, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index rose 14.59 points, or 0.22%, to 6,516.40. Meanwhile the broader All Ordinaries index, which tracks the nation's 500 biggest listed companies, inclined 14.18 points, or 0.22%, to 6,607.20.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's speech at the Jackson Hole Symposium later today will be closely watched by the markets. He is likely to nod to the possibility that trade tensions, which have escalated, may worsen the global economic slowdown and ultimately make more US rate cuts necessary.
Investors believe Powell will use the event to set the stage for a 25 basis point rate cut in September.
Shares of communications, real estate and consumer discretionary were standout. Telstra (TLS) was up 1.2%. Wesfarmers (WES) rose 1.1%. Goodman Group (GMG) rose 4% following the announcement of FY19 net profit jumping 48% to $1.63 billion and expectation of more growth in FY20.
Shares of the healthcare and consumer staple sectors were lower. Biotech firm, CSL was 0.5% weaker, while the a2 Milk Co (A2M) slid 3.5%.
Costa Group Holdings shares dropped 18% after vegetables and fruit producer's reported a 1% increase in statutory profit for the first half of the year on higher revenues and now projects earnings at the lower end of its revised outlook range.
Mayne Pharma shares fell 1% after pharmaceutical company's reported a loss for the full year that widened from last year on a one-time charge and lower revenues and declared no final dividend. The pharmaceutical company's shares are declining more than 1%.
CURRENCY NEWS: The Australian dollar, a liquid proxy for emerging market and China risk, was little softer against greenback on Friday, largely owing to US-China trade war fallout which is a theme that will likely continue for the foreseeable future. Also, broad-based US Dollar strength driven by safe-haven demand amid slowing global GDP growth and flashing recession signals exacerbated downside in spot AUD-USD. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6757, down from 0.6768 on Thursday.
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