Fed rate chat fuels Wall St, iron ore falls: Aus shares flat at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market is having a flat day of trade tracking around the 5770 point mark and maintaining that one month high.

We did see more record leads from Wall street after the Fed said it would hike rates in December. But putting cap on gains today is a fall in iron ore price, which has fuelled some selling in the big miners. The likes of BHP (ASX:BHP) is down 1.5 per cent, Forestcue (ASX:FMG) has lost 1.4 per cent, while RIO (ASX:RIO) is not that far behind with its losses.

Because of that Materials are the biggest weight on the local bourse. Going the other way and leading most of our market higher are gains in the banks, with the likes of the Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) rising about 1.6 per cent after reporting better profits than the market excepted. Meantime, NAB (ASX:NAB) is outperforming the other three major banks.

As for the sectors, utilities are shining, followed by healthcare, industrials and energy.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is not even 1 point lower or 0.02 per cent down at 5,771

On the futures market the SPI is 7 points higher.

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 0.2 per cent.

Economic news 

The ABS reported today housing finance rose 2.1 per cent in August, largely bolstered by strong growth in investment lending.

Company news

Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) has announced a 5 per cent increase in its yearly profits, with cash earnings after tax hitting $378 million at the end of 31 August 2017, compared to the prior corresponding period. It was also better than what some analysts expected. Statutory net profit after tax increased 4 per cent to $352 million. It’s second half revenue rose 7 per cent to $569 million. Menatime its NPAT was boosted by a $16 million gain from the sales of a vendor finance entity. Shares in Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) are trading 1.58 per cent higher at $13.14.

Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) has seen record saleable coal production of 5.9 million tonnes in the September quarter, compared to the prior corresponding period (pcp). It also hit record coal sales, of 6.1 million tonnes for the September quarter, which was a 21 per cent gain also on the prior corresponding period. Shares in Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) are trading 2.58 per cent lower at $3.78.

To the best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Utilties, gaining 0.94 per cent to 8,014. Shares in Ausnet Services (ASX:AST) have risen 1.47 per cent and trading at $1.72. Shares in AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) and APA Group (ASX:APA) are also stronger. 

The worst performing sector is Materials, falling 0.93 per cent to 10,423. Shares in South32 (ASX:S32) have fallen 1.84 per cent, trading at $3.20. Shares in Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) and Alumina (ASX:AWC) are also lower. 

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,293 an ounce and one Australian dollar is buying 78.05 US cents.

Jessica Amir

Finance News Network
Jessica is a senior finance journalist and presents the Market Outlook, Market at Midday and Market Wrap. She also presents ASX company news and interviews CEOs. She joined FNN in January 2017 with six years of broadcast journalism experience. She worked as a journalist and producer with Sky News Business, ABC 1, ABC's The Business and ABC24. She also worked in regional Australia for Prime 7 and WIN News as a TV reporter. In her prior life she worked as a financial planner.