The ASX 200 (INDEXASX: XJO)(^AXJO) is expected to open higher today, the USA’s S&P 500 Index (.INX) fell by 0.20% on Wednesday.

Australian Dollar ($A) (AUDUSD): 69.31US cents

Dow Jones (DJI): down 0.17%

Oil (WTI): $US51.13 per barrel

Gold: $US1,333 per ounce

ASX Sharemarket News

In ASX sharemarket news, retail giant Wesfarmers Ltd (ASX: WES) has announced a trading update for the second half of the financial year for the ‘Kmart Group’, which includes Kmart and Target.

In the second half of FY19 to the end of May 2019, Kmart has delivered total sales growth of 1.8% with comparable sales growth of 0.2%. Meanwhile Target has generated a total sales decline of 3.6% with a comparable sales decline of 2.3% for the 22 weeks to the end of May 2019.

Wesfarmers said that discounted prices and cautious consumer sentiment were the reasons for the tough trading conditions.

Wesfarmers Managing Director Rob Scott said Kmart Group trading conditions were below expectations and that EBIT (click here to learn what EBIT means) from the two retailers was expected to be between $515 million and $565 million. This is a material decline compared to $631 million reported last year.

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Funds management business Challenger Ltd (ASX: CGF) has provided some guidance for FY19 and FY20.

The company confirmed it expects to achieve the bottom end of its guidance for normalised net profit before tax of $545 million to $565 million for FY19 with the consensus analyst expectations for net profit to be $544 million.

In FY20 Challenger expects to generate normalised profit before tax in a range of between $500 million to $550 million.

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Disclaimer: Any information contained in this article is limited to general financial/investment advice only. The information has not taken into account your specific needs, goals or objectives, so please consider consulting a licenced and trusted adviser before acting on the information. Please read The Rask Group’s Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information. This article is authorised by Owen Raszkiewicz of The Rask Group, which is a corporate authorised representative No. 1264179 of Strawman Pty Ltd (ACN: 610 908 211) (AFSL: 501 223).

Disclosure: At the time of writing Jaz owns shares of Challenger, but this could change at any time.