ASX firms following trade concessions

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“The market is reacting well ahead of the fundamentals. There’s momentum and positive sentiment in the market showing there’s a disconnect between what’s happening in the real underlying economy and the market,” Ms McNaughton said.

“The optimism in the market is based on looking towards an end to the trade war. It’s not very well founded. The US and Chinese economies are slowing and we think the trade war will continue to next year.”

Tech stocks opened the session firmer on Thursday after Mr Trump delayed the implementation of further tariffs on Chinese goods.

The optimism that lifted the stocks early waned through the session however, with most shares wiping their strong early gains to close the session lower. Xero ended the day 1.8 per cent lower at $62.43, Afterpay Touch dropped 0.9 per cent to $31.80, Appen slid 1.4 per cent to $22.75 and Altium fell 1.4 per cent to $35.72.

Eleven stocks on the S&P/ASX 200 hit a 52-week high today, with a number also hitting record highs.

 James Alcock

Westpac shares rose to their highest level in just over a year this morning, topping out at $29.97, its highest level since August 2018, after announcing its chief financial officer would stand down.

NAB also hit its highest level since August 2018, topping out at $29 before retreating through the session, while Commonwealth edged 0.93 per cent higher to $81.35.

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Telstra shares were up 0.8 per cent to $3.59, real estate group Goodman jumped 2.2 per cent to $13.74, while building materials company James Hardie was up 1.6 per cent to $23.51. Mining company Fortescue Metals was up 2.7 per cent to $9.01, Aluminium smelter Alumina jumped up 2.9 per cent to $2.46, while Rio Tinto edged higher 0.3 per cent to $92.68.

Trading notably lower were Sims Metal Management, down 3.3 per cent, Cooper Energy, also down 3.3 per cent, and IOOF Holdings, down 2.5 per cent. Wesfarmers were down 0.63 per cent to $39.37 , BHP was down 1.6 per cent, while Magellan was down 2.3 per cent to $51.37.

Synlait shares skidded 10.3 per cent after reporting fiscal-year results. Synlait said that fiscal year revenue rose 17 per cent to $1.02 billion while net profit rose 10 per cent to $82.2 million, but its earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation didn’t meet market expectations.

Oil prices fell after a report that Mr Trump discussed easing sanctions against Iran, weighing on energy stocks on Thursday. The news came after the foreign policy hawk and national security advisor John Bolton departed the Trump administration on Tuesday. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani commented on the move, lauding Mr Bolton’s dismissal and declaring him a “warmonger”.

Brent, the international oil benchmark, fell 2.5 per cent to $US60.81 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate was down 2.9 per cent to $US55.75 a barrel on Wednesday.

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Woodside Petroleum took a 2.1 per cent hit, bringing the price to $31.51.

Investors were looking ahead to key central bank meetings.

The European Central Bank is expected to cut interest rates and detail plans for stimulus measures on Thursday while next week, the market expects the Federal Reserve to deliver a 25 basis-point rate cut.

Mr Trump took another swipe a the Federal Reserve, calling them “boneheads” while demanding the Fed to take interest rates down to zero or less.