Following mixed leads from Wall Street and drop in the iron ore price, the Australian share market dropped at the open and continued to dive deeper into the red in the first two hours of trade. However just before midday the market started to see some signs of plateauing.
Utilities are leading the decliners with AGL (ASX:AGL) dragging the chain after its shares dived 2.6 per cent in the wake of further media chatter about the closure of its coal-fired power station.
All of the sectors are seeing red, except Reits with the likes of Goodman Group (ASX:GMG), Vicinity Centres (ASX:VCX) and Stockland (ASX:SGP) all charging up.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 35 points down or 0.6 per cent lower at 5,704.
On the futures market the SPI is 34 points lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.14 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.62 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has shed 0.35 per cent.
Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) has announced Nev Power will end his term as CEO on 16 February 2018, after being at the helm for seven years. Fortescue says Nev Power exceeded the often-unreasonable targets set by the board and was the company’s second CEO in the past 15 years. Chairman, Andrew Forrest announced the news with great sadness but was excited for Nev in taking some ‘well overdue time off’. The company will search for a replacement internally and externally. Shares in Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) are 4.04 per cent lower at $5.58.
Altech Chemicals (ASX:ATC) has set a date for the 'offer of cover', by the German government inter-ministerial committee (IMC) for its export finance approval. The suppliers of high purity alumina (HPA) say, setting the date at 14 December 2017 is a positive step and will result in a legally binding 'offer of cover' from the Federal Republic of Germany, for the majority of its debt funding. The funding will be used for its HPA project. Shares in Altech Chemicals (ASX:ATC) are trading 11.54 per cent higher at $0.14.
To best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Reits, gaining 0.74 per cent to 1,343. Shares in Mirvac Group (ASX:MGR) have risen 1.74 per cent and trading at $2.34. Shares in Growthpoint Properties Australia (ASX:GOZ) and Goodman Group (ASX:GMG) are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Utilities, falling 1.79 per cent to 8,088. Shares in AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) have fallen 2.58 per cent, trading at $23.45. Shares in Ausnet Services (ASX:AST) and Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX:SKI) are also lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,331 an ounce and one Australian dollar is buying 79.94 US cents.