Giving up gains: Aus shares 0.4% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market gave up some of yesterday’s gains as expected. The ASX 200 dropped like a stone at the open following negative leads from Wall Street and commodities. US stocks closed lower as the Fed signaled it will keep raising interest rates to contain inflation while the oil price gained and iron ore futures fell.

And in the first two hours of trade the local bourse remained underwater and continued to fall lower with telcos falling the most, following are discretionaries and property and miners. However, some lithium players are bucking the trend and trading higher with 2017's darling, Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) gaining the most, followed by Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY). In fact, most sectors of the market are now trading below the line. Although staples, industries and energy stocks are gaining. 

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.4 per cent lower or 23 points down at 6,034. On the futures market the SPI is 20 points lower.

Local economic news

Private Sector Credit or ‘loans outstanding’ held steady for the month of January, when compared to December, however the market was expecting loans outstanding to have grown more than they did. As a result the ASX200 lost a bit of steam after the data came out as well.

Company news now

Retailer, Harvey Norman (ASX:HVN) has seen profits drop about 19 per cent in the half year ending December 2017, taking its net profit after tax and non-controlling interests from $257 million to $208 million. The fall in profit comes despite a near 5 per cent rise in sales revenue to over $1 billion in the half year. Harvey Norman was impacted by asset devaluations, and an impairment (write-down) for its northern Victorian diary and cattle genetics JV, of which they own 49.9 per cent of. The JV contributed $4.57 million in losses for Harvey Norman’s half finanical year. Its shares are trading over 15.5 per cent lower at $3.87.

Cement and masonry manufacturer, Adelaide Brighton (ASX:ABC) has seen its full year profit slip 2.3 per cent. The company says profit slightly fell on the back of one off costs, acquisitions and restructuring expenses. Meantime, its revenue jumped 12 per cent to a record $1.6 billion thanks to strong demand for construction supplies on the east coast and improving conditions in SA. Its underlying earnings (EBIT) rose about 8 per cent and it declared a higher ordinary dividend to 12 cents and special dividend of 4.0 cents. Its shares are trading 6.5 per cent lower at $6.54.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is consumer staples adding 0.7 per cent to 10,398 points while the worst performing sector is teclos, shedding 1.9 per cent to 1,225 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX:PLS), rising 14 per cent to $0.95, followed by shares in Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) and Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Harvey Norman Holdings (ASX:HVN), dropping 15.5 per cent to $3.87, followed by shares in Adelaide Brighton (ASX:ABC) and Super Retail Group (ASX:SUL).

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,317 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.90 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading mostly higher, Bitcoin has gained 3 per cent to US$10,700, Tether is trading at US$1.00, and Ethereum has gained about 1 per cent to US$881.