The Australian share market dived sharply at the open, defying strong leads from global markets with the ASX 200 now trading 0.39 per cent lower at noon.
An overnight drop in the oil price coupled with Moody’s downgrade to the big banks is weighting on the markets, with the Energy space and Financials trading in the red.
The Consumer Discretionary space is leading the charge, bucking the trend and trading higher, following by modest gains in the Health Care and Consumer Staples
In terms of outperformance, shares in Big Un (ASX:BIG) have surged over 8.8 per cent after it announced plans to buy Hospitality Vertical, which will provide the company with $6 million in revenue per annum.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 23 points down at 5,782. On the futures market the SPI is 3 points lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has added 1.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has risen 0.2 per cent and the Shanghai Composite is trading flat.
To local economic news
Residential property prices have jumped 2.2 per cent in the March quarter, according to the ABS. It’s the fourth consecutive run of growth, with Sydney and Melbourne leading the way out of the capital cities, partially offsetting the falls in Perth and Darwin.
Through the year, growth in residential property prices reached 10.2 per cent in the March 2017 quarter.
The mean dwelling price in Australia also rose to about $670,000.
Slater and Gordon Limited (ASX:SGH) has advised that a class action has been served on it by Babscay Limited, on behalf of persons that acquired shares in Slater and Gordon between August 2012 and November 2015. The statement of claim alleges SGH’s financial statements for 2013, 2014 and 2015 contained false and misleading material. The embattled law firm says it will vigorously defend the claim. Shares in Slater and Gordon are 1.53 per cent higher to 10 cents.
Oventus Medical Limited (ASX:OVN) has entered into a worldwide distribution agreement with Hong Kong based Modern Dental Group for its sleep apnoea treatment mouth guard, the O2 Vent. Modern Dental Group is the world’s largest dental prosthetic device provider with over 70 sales and customer service centres around the world. Oventus says the agreement will enable it to accelerate its sales of the O2 Vent device. Shares in Oventus Medical last traded at 38 cents.
The best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Consumer Discretionary, gaining 0.5 per cent to 2,257. Shares in APN Outdoor Group Limited (ASX:APO) have risen 3.53 per cent and trading at $4.69. Shares in Flight Centre Travel Group Limited (ASX:FLT) and Harvey Norman Holdings Limited (ASX:HVN) are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Reits, falling 1.33 per cent to 1,428. Shares in Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) have fallen 2.05 per cent, trading at $4.31. Shares in Abacus Property Group (ASX:ABP) and Westfield Corporation (ASX:WFD) are also lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,246 an ounce and
the Australian dollar is buying 75.90 US cents.