Big miners weigh, lithium stocks gain: Aus shares 0.6% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market opened lower, falling further in the first two hours of trade, erasing yesterday’s gains and now we are 0.6 per cent down for the day.

Miners are seeing the biggest losses today after the iron ore price slipped. In fact, most of the sectors are trading lower with property the only one bucking the trend and making gains.

Even though heavy weights like Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) are 2 per cent lower with Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) following lower, some lithium players are charging ahead. The likes of Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) is about 2.8 per cent higher, with Orocobre (ASX:ORE) and Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) also shining.

It’s also important to note sentiment is lower today in banks as the banking royal commission hearings starts today with all the big four banks trading lower. Plus a swag of companies are going ex dividend too, and that’s taking its toll.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 39 points lower or 0.6 per cent lower at 5,958. On the futures market the SPI is 26 points lower.

Local economic news

Home loans fell more than expected for the month of January. Investment property loans however rose, recovering from the previous month’s fall. Meanwhile, business confidence slipped in February according to NAB’s business confidence survey. Although confidence fell, the reading was in line with market consensus.

Company news 

Satellite communication company, Sky and Space Global (ASX:SAS) raised $10 million in a heavily oversubscribed placement. At the same time it also launched a $5 million share purchase plan at 12 cents per share. The firm plans to use the proceeds to complete the design, construction and launch costs of the first batch of about 20 nano satellites, as part of its global equatorial constellation. The share purchase plan closes on 27 March, with the new shares to be listed on 5 April. Its shares are trading 13 per cent lower at $0.14.

Battery energy storage company Redflow (ASX:RFX) made its first batteries stacks from its new Thailand factory. The ZBM2 batteries are now ready for shipping. The company says it’s an important milestone for the company as the batteries use stacks and existing battery tank sets. Shares in Redflow (ASX:RFX) are trading 7.7 per cent higher at $0.14.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is reits adding 0.1 per cent to 1,320 points while the worst performing sector is materials, shedding 1.2 per cent to 11,214 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX:PLS), rising 2.8 per cent to $0.92, followed by shares in Orocobre Limited (ASX:ORE) and Domain Holdings Australia Limited (ASX:DHG).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Australian Agricultural Company (ASX:AAC), dropping 3.5 per cent to $1.16 followed by shares in Resolute Mining Limited (ASX:RSG) and Nanosonics Limited (ASX:NAN).

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,325 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.84 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

The three most traded cryptocurrencies are trading lower. Bitcoin has fallen 4 per cent to US$9,302, Tether is trading at US$1.00 and Ethereum is trading 3 per cent lower at US$705.