Aust shares edge slightly higher

The Australian share market has opened slightly higher as strong commodity prices help offset negativity around US President Donald Trump's protectionist agenda.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 0.06 per cent at 5,614.3 points at 1025 AEDT with the mining-related materials sector leading gains followed closely by the healthcare sector.

CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner said Wall Street was down only slightly overnight, suggesting that the Australian share market's sell-off on Monday over US President Donald Trump's economic agenda may have been "overshot".

However, Mr Spooner said, Trump's protectionist agenda had upset global markets when he signed executive orders to withdraw the US from the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement and renegotation of the North American Free Trade Association.

"The new administration is showing it's serious with its plans to move towards increased trade protection and that has driven a correction in the US dollar, in bonds and stock markets," he said.

"It has tempered the optimism around the Trump administration and has created a brittle mood where investors are taking profits."

He said recent strength in iron ore and base metal prices have helped drive the mining sector higher while positive trade updates from healthcare giant Resmed and steel producer BlueScope Steel were lifting the local market.

Shares in BlueScope rose 6.07 per cent, or 63 cents, to $11.01 after it flagged an upgrade in its first-half year earnings.

Medical device maker Resmed has lifted its second-quarter revenue by 17 per cent to $US530 million ($A700 million) sending its shares up 6.13 per cent, or 51 cents, to $8.83.

In other positive news, energy player Oil Search has topped its 2016 production guidance. Its shares were down three cents, or 0.43 per cent, at $6.98.

As for the financial sector, the big four banks were all weaker with Commonwealth Bank off 15 cents at $81.32, National Australia Bank dipped three cents to $30.03, Westpac dropped 15 cents to $31.63 and ANZ shed 13 cents to $29.14.

In other news, Bellamy's former chief executive Laura McBain has resigned as a director of the embattled infant formula maker.

On Wall Street overnight, the Dow Jones index dipped 0.14 per cent, the S&P 500 index fell 0.27 per cent and the Nasdaq was 0.04 per cent lower.

ON THE ASX:

* At 1025 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was up 3.3 points, or 0.06 per cent, at 5,614.3 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was up 2.4 points, or 0.04 per cent, at 5,670.4 points.

* The March SPI200 futures contract was down two points, or 0.04 per cent, at 5,564 points.

* National turnover was 394 million securities traded worth $547 million.

CURRENCY UPDATE:

* The local currency is trading higher at 75.92 US cents, compared to 75.70 at Monday's close as the greenback pulls back amid concerns about Trump's trade agenda.

Market Data

  • Currencies
    Currencies
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    0.7677+0.0003+0.03%
    AUDUSD=X
    0.6177+0.0007+0.11%
    AUDGBP=X
    0.7245-0.0003-0.04%
    AUDEUR=X