Backpedal: shares 0.12% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market initially kicked off the trading week on a high note after Wall Street closed in the black on Friday. But the local bourse started tracking lower and now its in the red with consumer staples and health stocks leading half of the sectors lower.

Tassal Group (ASX:TGR) shares lost over 4 after the salmon farmer announced board changes. Meantime, Bellamy's Australia (ASX:BAL) jumped almost 4 per cent.

Energy and utilities stocks are boding the best today, with the likes of Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) lifting over 2 per cent, after then crude oil price lifted to a two day high.

On the resources front BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) are trading higher despite the iron ore price slipping and the iron ore futures price pointing lower.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 8 points down or 0.12 per cent lower at noon at 5,941. On the futures market the SPI is 6 points lower.

Company news 

Telco, Spark New Zealand (ASX:SPK) announced it became the first telecommunications company in NZ to switch on a 5G mobile test site. 5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology and can be up to 100 times faster than 4G and is 90 times faster than today’s most common UFB service. The Minister for Broadcasting, Clare Curran in Wellington, became the first member of the public to run a 5G speed test, achieving speeds of over 9 Gigabits per second. The trial will be live throughout March in the streets of Wellington’s CBD, testing speeds and coverage. Spark New Zealand (ASX:SPK) shares are trading 1 per cent higher at $3.15.

Lithium boron mine developer, Global Geoscience (ASX:GSC) which is progressing its project in Nevada, entered the ASX300 today. It also advised, shareholders can expect an updated on pre-feasibility studies in the coming weeks, under the direction of Amec Foster Wheeler, a British multinational engineering and project management firm. It will also give an update on preliminary site layout and environmental permits over the coming weeks as well. Today its shares are trading flat at $0.49.

Gold and lithium mining company, Kidman Resources (ASX:KDR) announced a 54 per cent uptick in its mineral resource estimates at one of its deposits near Southern Cross in WA, ‘Earl Grey’. It told the market that the deposit, Earl Grey, is one of the world’s most significant hard rock lithium deposits and it’s also expected to be the low end of the global hard rock cost curve. It also advised that its WA joint venture, with one of the world’s largest lithium companies, SQM, is progressing quickly with both parties focused on advancing the project. Shares in Kidman Resources (ASX:KDR) are trading 4.2 per cent higher at 2.22.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is energy adding 1.3 per cent to 10,072 points while the worst performing sector is staples, shedding 0.9 per cent to 10,399 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Bellamy's Australia (ASX:BAL), rising 3.7 per cent to $21.97, followed by shares in Smartgroup Corporation (ASX:SIQ) and Ausnet Services (ASX:AST).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Tassal Group (ASX:TGR), dropping 4.7 per cent to $3.67, followed by shares in IPH (ASX:IPH) and Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY).

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,311 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.09 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has gained 6 per cent to US$8,293, Ethereum gained about 1 per cent to US$544 and Ripple is trading at US$0.67.