Bumpy Wednesday: Aus shares flat at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market bounced back into positive territory today as Wall Street closed higher with the Federal Reserve kicking off its two-day meeting and markets there expecting a rate hike of 25 basis points.

As for our sectors, energy and mining stocks are leading half of the sectors higher after commodity prices started to recover, with the iron ore and crude oil prices rising.

The likes of Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) is over 7 per cent higher after the oil price lifted over 2 per cent.

While BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio (ASX:RIO) are recovering from yesterday’s selling, after they lost about 2 per cent.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 2 points up or 0.04 per cent higher at 5,939. On the futures market the SPI is flat.

Company news 

Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has launched a new debt reduction program, a bond purchase and redemption plan for up to US$2.5 billion. It comes as two of Rio’s coal assets have been snapped up only one week after binding bids were submitted. After the market close last night, Rio announced it agreed to sell its Hali and Valeria coal projects and mines in QLD for $1.7 billion, to Glencore. Its shares are trading 0.8 per cent higher at $75.80.

Santos (ASX:STO) looks to be leading the race as the lead candidate, in supplying back fill gas to Darwin LNG. It comes as the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) accepted the Barossa gas field JV’s project proposal. It’s a major step in the development process. It also puts Barossa down as a front runner to deliver gas, when Bayu Undan production ends in the early 2020s. Shares in Santos (ASX:STO) are trading 1.3 per cent higher at $5.08.

And the Central Bank of Norway (Norges Bank) has increased its stake oil and gas company, AWE (ASX:AWE) from 5.47 per cent to 7.39 per cent. It comes as Japanese company Mitsui & Co’s $602 million closes in two weeks on 6 April 2018. Mitsui’s interest in AWE was last pegged at owning 6.25 per cent of the firm. AWE shares are trading 0.3 per cent higher to $0.95.

But the big news of the day is that James Packer has resigned as a director of Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) for personal reasons.

Myer (ASX:MYR) shares lifted 2.3 per cent after announcing its results.

Gest and worst performers

The best performing sector is energy adding 1.2 per cent to 10,137 points while the worst performing sector is telco, shedding about 1 per cent to 1,207 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC), rising 7.1 per cent to $4.51, followed by shares in Nufarm (ASX:NUF) (after the company announced they’re on track to deliver earnings growth of 5-10 per cent for the full 2018 year) and Bluescope Steel (ASX:BSL).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG), dropping 3.6 per cent to $1.08, followed by shares in Domino's Pizza Enterprises (ASX:DMP) and Fairfax Media Limited (ASX:FXJ).

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,312 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.94 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has gained 5 per cent to US$8,995, Ethereum gained about 1.5 per cent to US$561 and Ripple is trading about 2 per cent to US$0.70.

 

Jessica Amir

Finance News Network
Jessica joined FNN in January 2017 with a passion for equities and funds management. As Head of News, she has been a broadcast journalist for over seven years, specialising in finance. She has been a journalist with Sky News Business, ABC 1, ABC's The Business and ABC24. She’s also worked as a TV reporter for regional Channel 7 and 9. She also previously worked as a financial planner and real estate agent.