Commodities drop: Aus shares 0.6 per cent lower at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market took a dive at the open, now sitting about 0.6 per cent lower at noon, after volatility returned to Wall Street on the back of selling and a fall in commodity prices dragging down energy and mining stocks. The Dow did break above 26,000 for the first time, but it back peddled, seeing its biggest one day drop since early 2016.

The Aussie share market is largely singing the same song, under pressure from miners and energy companies with the oil price slipping, nickel falling 5 per cent, iron ore and copper falling on the back of a weaker US dollar and profit taking.

Heavy weights BHP (ASX:BHP), Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) are down over 2 per cent each with Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) down over 1 per cent.

Despite that, we are seeing some darlings in the rough, Oz Minerals (ASX:OZL) rose over 2 cent after it exceeded gold production forecasts. At a sector level, property is seeing the most gains, along with staples and consumer discretionary.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 33 points down or 0.6 per cent lower at 6,016. On the futures market the SPI is 21 points lower.

Local economic news

Total property loans rose 2.3 per cent in November 2017, according to the ABS. Owner occupied lending rose the most, up 2.7 per cent in the month while investment property lending shot up 1.5 per cent.

While construction activity jumped 30 per cent in the September quarter, almost double the June quarters growth of 15.6 per cent.
 
More company news 


Medical device company, Sirtex Medical (ASX:SRX) shot to the top as a star ASX200 performer, rising over 16 per cent at one point after it announced a 16 per cent jump in its earnings (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA)) for the six months to the end of 31 December 2017) to $34 million. On the back of that, it’s expecting higher sales in the second half of this finanical year, and stronger 2018 full year earnings (EBITDA) of $75-$85 million, up from the prior finanical year’s EBITDA of $61.5 million. Its shares at midday were 16.10 per cent higher to $18.17.

And global bank UBS Group has become a substantial holder in Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY), a lithium company with resources in Argentina, Quebec in Canada and WA. The bank took its holding in the global lithium company to 5.05 per cent. Galaxy Resources shares at midday were 3.52 per cent lower to $4.11.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Reits adding 0.4 per cent to 1,357 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX:SRX), rising 16 per cent to $18.17. Shares in The A2 Milk Company Limited (ASX:A2M) and Oz Minerals Limited (ASX:OZL) are following higher.

The worst performing sector was Materials shedding 1.7 per cent to 11,862 points.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX:GXY), dropping 3.5 per cent to $4.11. Shares in Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX:PLS) and Retail Food Group Limited (ASX:RFG) also following lower.

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,342 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 79.93 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has fallen 17.2 per cent in the last 24 hours to $11,261
Ethereum fallen about 19 per cent to $1,026
And Tether has gained about 2 per cent to $1.03