It has been a disappointing start to the trading session for the Australian share market this morning, dropping at the open and tracking sideways in the first two hours of trade or 0.13 per cent lower at lunchtime. Telcos are proving to be the biggest drag on the market so far with losses in Telstra (ASX:TLS) and TPG Telecom (ASX:TPM), followed by a slide in the Financials sector. Materials and Energy are bucking the trend today with the likes of South32(ASX:S32) jumping close to 3 per cent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 8 points down at 5,865. On the futures market the SPI is 16 points lower.
The Reserve Bank of Australia will meet for its April meeting at 2.30 this afternoon. Once again interest rates are expect to remain on hold at a record low of 1.5 per cent.
St Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM) has advised that it has taken a 9.5 per cent stake in Peel Mining (ASX:PEX). The gold miner has subscribed for $3.28 million of Peel shares at 20.5 cents per share. Peel says the funding commitment from St Barbara provides further validation of its strong belief in the mineral potential of the Cobar Superbasin. Shares in St Barbara are trading up 4.17 per cent at $2.50.
Lithium Power International Limited (ASX:LPI) has gone into a trading halt, pending the release of a market-sensitive announcement by the lithium developer. The company says the announcement relates to a material development in the Maricunga project timetable and associated capital raising requirements. LPI will remain in a trading halt until the earlier of trade on Thursday, or when the announcement is released to the market. Shares in Lithium Power last traded at $0.38.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Materials, gaining 0.4 per cent to 9,810. Shares in Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) have risen 5.6 per cent and trading at $1.37. Shares in St Barbara (ASX:SBM) and Regis Resources (ASX:RRL) are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Telcos, falling 0.6 per cent to 1,650. Shares in TPG Telecom (ASX:TPM) have fallen 2.39 per cent, trading at $6.73. Shares in Telstra (ASX:TLS) are lower and Vocus Communications (ASX:VOC) are higher.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,256 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US0.7611.