Afternoon trading February 12

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    Thanks Morning Crew. @highlandlad is enjoying a lovely day off 

    Midday report courtesy of CommSec:

    Despite a messy start to the session the ASX 200 is up by 0.4per cent at lunch, enough to recoup Monday’s losses whilekeeping local equities near four-month highs. Investors seem alittle cautious ahead of US-China trade talks scheduled to kickoff this Thursday in Beijing.

    Most sectors are improving, with strong gains from financials,healthcare and mining stocks helping most.

    Miners are managing to lift despite softer commodityprices which were weighed down by a firmer USD. Iron orecontinues to be the big mover, slumping by 4.2 per cent or $4to US$90.20/t last night. The metal remains near two-year highsand has surged by 14 per cent in two weeks following a deadlymining accident in Brazil. The collapse of a tailings dam was ata Vale owned site; the world’s largest iron ore mining company.Uncertainty remains about how Brazilian regulators will respondand intervene. There is as much as 20 per cent of its outputcurrently on hold.

    Macquarie (MQG) is the strongest improver among thefinancials, lifting by close to 3 per cent after maintaining itsguidance (earnings goals) for the year. The investment bank istargeting profits to grow as much as 15 per cent in FY19.

    Transurban (TCL) is down by 2.3 per cent after the toll roadoperator announced a 56 per cent slide in half year profit to$145m. Earnings were held by back in part by costs associatedwith its 51 per cent ($9.3bn) acquisition of Sydney’sWestConnex.

    Insurance Australia Group (IAG) is down 1.4 per cent as thecompany behind NRMA trades ex-dividend. IAG will pay eligibleinvestors a 12c interim dividend on 20 March. CommonwealthBank (CBA) will trade ex-dividend on Wednesday.

    Bendigo & Adelaide Bank (BEN) is down 1.7 per cent asinvestors continue to respond to its underwhelming half yearresults out on Monday.

    Power company, Spark Infrastructure (SKI) continues itsrough start to the week after cutting its dividend forecasts dueto an adverse court ruling on Monday.

    Pact Group (PGH) is down 6.5 per cent after the packagingcompany warned of $310-$340m in impairment charges due tochallenging trading conditions and a softer outlook for itsAustralian business.

    797.8m shares have changed hands so far worth $2bn. 476stocks are up, 387 down and 374 are unchanged.

    Hope you are all making a buck.
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