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The Australian share market gave up most of its gains from Tuesday, as markets around the world turned skittish ahead of a key meeting of central bankers.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index finished Wednesday down 61.7 points, or 0.94 per cent, to 6,483.3 points, while the broader All Ordinaries was closed down 54.8 points, or 0.83 per cent, to 6,572.6.

With global markets having been driven higher most of the year driven by lower interest rates, traders were cautious ahead of the release of minutes from the US Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and the European Central Bank, as well the start of an annual meeting of central bankers at Jackson Hole.

The mining, industrial, consumer staples and property trusts were all down between 1.4 and 2.0 per cent, while health care, tech stocks and utilities the only sectors to post gains.

Earnings were sharply in focus during another busy day in reporting season.

Market darling A2 Milk fell 13.2 per cent to $13.89 after reporting full-year earnings growth of 46.1 per cent to $NZ413.6 million ($A391m), a bit below analyst predictions.

Iluka Resources fell 10.6 per cent after the mineral sands producer said its underlying half-year earnings had fallen 6.7 per cent to $232.7 million as trade tensions tampered demand for zircon.

Nearmap fell 9.6 per cent to a four-year low $2.84 after the aerial mapping company said its full-year net loss jumped from $11 million to $14.9 million.

On the positive side of things, McMillan Shakespeare gained 17.8 per cent to a six-month high of $15.47 after the salary packaging company said underlying full-year net profit fell 5.1 per cent to $88.7 million.

Wisetech Global rose 11 per cent to $30.76 after the logistics software company said its full-year profit rose 32.7 per cent to $54.1 million. gained 10.9 per cent to hit an all-time high of $15.57 after its adjusted earnings grew seven per cent to $210 million, despite tough market conditions.

Elsewhere, the big banks were all lower, led by Westpac, which fell 1.8 per cent to $27.52.

ANZ was down 1.2 per cent to $26.37, NAB dropped 0.7 per cent to $27.15 and Commonwealth was down 0.1 per cent to $77.02.

The mining sector saw collective losses of 2.0 per cent as the price of iron ore fell 2.6 per cent, with BHP dropping 2.9 per cent to $35.25, Rio Tinto falling 2.5 per cent to $83.70 and Fortescue Metals down 4.1 per cent to $7.27.

Gold miners were mixed, with Saracen Minerals up 1.7 per cent and Newcrest up 0.4 per cent, but Evolution fell 2.0 per cent and Northern Star was down 0.4 per cent.

International Markets

Wall Street's main indexes have risen as upbeat earnings from retailers pointed to strength in US consumer demand, and held gains after minutes from last month's Federal Reserve meeting showed policymakers had debated a more aggressive interest rate cut.

US stocks moved solidly higher following better-than-expected results from retailers Target and Lowe's.

Target shares surged 20.4 per cent on Wednesday after the big-box retailer raised its annual earnings forecast.

Lowe's shares climbed 10.4 per cent after the home-improvement chain beat profit estimates.

Robust US consumer spending has helped stave off fears of an impending recession.

Concerns about an economic slowdown rose as the yield curve between two-year and 10-year Treasuries briefly inverted last week.

Though the yield curve again briefly inverted on Wednesday, it had little impact on stocks this time around.

Some participants preferred a 50-basis-point cut, but the committee was united in wanting to avoid the appearance of being on a path to further rate cuts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 240.29 points, or 0.93 per cent, to 26,202.73, the S&P 500 gained 23.92 points, or 0.82 per cent, to 2924.43 and the Nasdaq Composite added 71.65 points, or 0.90 per cent, to 8020.21.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak on Friday at the central bankers' conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Several market strategists said Powell's comments at the conclave would offer greater insight on the course of monetary policy than the minutes from the July Fed meeting given developments since then, including US President Donald Trump's announcement of tariffs on an additional $US300 billion worth of Chinese goods.

On Wednesday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said changes in US and foreign trade policies since January 2018 would reduce inflation-adjusted US gross domestic product by 0.3 per cent from what it would be otherwise by 2020.

Among individual stocks, shares of Toll Brothers slipped 4.5 per cent after the luxury homebuilder posted a decline in orders, hinting at weaker demand for new homes.

Source: Morningstar

Davide Bosio’s ‘Coffee with Samso’
Emergence of a giant in the Australian stockbroking industry

By Noel Ong

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CLICK HERE to watch the full video
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Recommendation Definitions:

SPECULATIVE BUY – Potential 10% or more outperformance, high risk
BUY – Potential 10% or more outperformance
ACCUMULATE - 10% or more out-performance, buy on share price weakness
HOLD – Potential 10% underperformance to 10% over performance
SELL – Potential 10% or more underperformance
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