Markets Live: ASX rallies late but closes lower
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Markets Live: ASX rallies late but closes lower

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That's it for the Markets Live blog for today.

Thank you for joining us and thank you for your comments.

We'll be back tomorrow morning, have a good evening.

Australian shares rallied from a near-two year for the second day in a row on Thursday as trade fears and bond markets kept investors on edge.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 10.7 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 5657.6 while the broader All Ordinaries closed 12.4 points, or 0.2 per cent, lower at 5726.7.

"There a several separate factors conspiring to keep markets on edge at present, including a flatter US yield curve and trade tensions," said BetaShares Capital chief economist David Bassanese. "But if you believe the US will avoid recession next year and inflation will remain contained - as I do - then this is just a correction and a good buying opportunity. Contrary to what US President Trump once boated, trade wars are not easy to win and impose costs on your own economy. Wall Street is now telling him that loud and clear."

The heavyweight mining stocks led the market losses, following a mixed session for commodities. BHP Billiton fell 1.4 per cent to $31.40, Rio Tinto slid 2 per cent to $72.21 and South32 closed 3.4 per cent lower at $3.12.

CSL was slightly weaker, falling 0.3 per cent to $179.24 despite a number of analysts remaining bullish on the stock following a study which found the company's cell-based flu vaccines game 36 per cent more protection than comparable egg-based vaccines.

The information technology sector took a hit on Thursday as the market darling tech stocks fell. Wisetech Global slid 4 per cent to $17.90, Appen closed 4.1 per cent lower at $13.01, Afterpay Touch fell 5.3 per cent to $12.96 and Altium slipped 4 per cent to $21.51.

Pendal Group was also among the market's worst performers on Thursday as it traded ex-dividend. It closed 4.1 per cent lower at $8.18.

Real estate and infrastructure stocks were among the market leaders as investors eyed off the more defensive sectors. Scentre Group rose 3.8 per cent to $4.10, Goodman Group advanced 2.3 per cent to $10.52, Stockland closed 3.2 per cent higher at $3.85 and Sydney Airport climbed 1.8 per cent to $6.92.

Outside the benchmark index Asaleo Care shares soared 45.6 per cent to 91¢ after the company told the market it will sell its Handee, Sorbent and Deeko brands to Solaris Paper for $180 million. The sale is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2019 and will allow Asaleo to focus on its personal care business.

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Official retail sales data has hit market consensus and soothed fears around an Australian consumption slump.

Falling house prices and a 2018 high for petrol prices have been headwinds to retail trade figures through October, with data showing a 0.3 per cent rise in retail spending for the month. September's retail sales' gain was revised lower to 0.1 per cent.

In seasonally adjusted terms, New South Wales was the only state or territory to fall in total retail trade, dropping 0.4 per cent in October.

Tim Boyd has the full story here.

Retail sales rose 0.3 per cent in October.

Retail sales rose 0.3 per cent in October.Credit:Louise Kennerley

Official retail sales data has hit market consensus and soothed fears around an Australian consumption slump.

Falling house prices and a 2018 high for petrol prices have been headwinds to retail trade figures through October, with data showing a 0.3 per cent rise in retail spending for the month. September's retail sales' gain was revised lower to 0.1 per cent.

In seasonally adjusted terms, New South Wales was the only state or territory to fall in total retail trade, dropping 0.4 per cent in October.

Tim Boyd has the full story here.

Retail sales rose 0.3 per cent in October.

Retail sales rose 0.3 per cent in October.Credit:Louise Kennerley

Macquarie Bank is set to rock the nation's $1.7 trillion mortgage sector with plans to stop underwriting new "home-branded" loans for several household name lenders and focus on its own products.

It comes as the industry grapples with falling property sales and revenues, intense scrutiny from the prudential regulators and the prospect of sweeping recommendations by the banking royal commission intended to improve competition and boost transparency.

Macquarie is blaming the technological and operational complexity of its so-called 'white label' operations and the likely regulatory fallout from increased scrutiny of competition and remuneration.

Duncan Hughes has the full story here.

Canada's province of Alberta should consider joining OPEC. Albertan reserves and production rival anything in the cartel. So much oil flows from its fields that pipelines are full and North America is awash.

Alberta's government ordered a mandatory local production cut this week, the first time since 1980. After Brent crude prices tumbled 28 per cent in the past month, onshore US producers will follow suit.

OPEC decisions may get the headlines this week in Vienna but North America's oil spigot turns a lot quicker.

Read The Lex Column here​.

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Australian shares have rallied through the early afternoon as the losses from the index heavyweights soften.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index is down 23.2 points, or 0.4 per cent, at 5645.2.

BHP Billiton is trading 1.8 per cent lower, ANZ is down 1.6 per cent and Commonwealth Bank is down 0.9 per cent.

Wisetech Global shares fell 4.8 per cent, Pendal Group slipped 4.2 per cent and Appen is down 4.1 per cent.

Scentre Group is up 2.4 per cent, Wesfarmers has advanced 1.4 per cent and Goodman Group is up 1.8 per cent.

Automotive Holdings Group has risen 3.8 per cent, Mirvac is up 3.2 per cent and Stockland is up 2.8 per cent.

One quarter of soft economic activity does not make a trend, so chatter about the Reserve Bank of Australia being forced to switch its bias to interest rate cuts is premature.

The most disappointing aspect of the weak September quarter gross domestic product figures was a pullback in consumer spending on discretionary items, causing household consumption growth to slow to 0.3 per cent - in line with GDP.

Yet the RBA would be well aware there has been a pattern of strong-weak-strong-weak consumption data over recent quarters, with the figures inexplicably bouncing around. Household consumption jumped 0.9 per cent in the June quarter.

John Kehoe has the full piece here.

RBA governor Philip Lowe has expressed confidence that wages will pick up.

RBA governor Philip Lowe has expressed confidence that wages will pick up.Credit:Fairfax Media

The Bank of Queensland has lost its second big executive in as many days, with group executive of BOQ business Brendan White resigning to become chief executive of ASX-listed Cash Converters.

Mr White's departure follows the resignation of BOQ chief executive Jon Sutton on Wednesday, who is leaving the lender to focus on his long-term health following a triple bypass surgery earlier this year.

Mr White joins former BOQ chief executive Stuart Grimshaw who is now the Cash Converters chairman.

Mr Grimshaw left BOQ in 2014 to become CEO of Cash Converters' major shareholder, Texas pawn shop operator EZCorp

with AAP

Francesco De Ferrari has at least one important credential needed to take over the running of Australia's largest wealth management company, AMP. He is a self-confessed "glass half full" kind of guy.

It would be even better if he had a glass quarter full attitude. Being on the cusp of a potentially organisation-changing moment when Commissioner Kenneth Hayne releases recommendations for the industry, a big lick of optimism will come in handy.

If the royal commission's recommendations are sufficiently draconian, his appointment would represent the biggest case of corporate bait and switch in living memory.

Elizabeth Knight has the full piece here.

New AMP chief executive Francesco de Ferrari is a glass half-full guy.

New AMP chief executive Francesco de Ferrari is a glass half-full guy.

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