Nearing six-month lows: Aus shares flat at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market started the trading week in the red, but is starting to level off at noon. The local bourse fell after Wall Street closed in the red, on trade war fears and on tech stocks tumbling, after Donald Trump slammed Amazon on social media at the weekend.

The biggest weight on the market today is the discretionary space, while the Australia dollar is rallying against most currencies. The likes of BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio (ASX:RIO) are trading over 2 per cent higher, despite the iron ore price falling over 3 per cent.

Santos (ASX:STO) shares are absolutely soaring today, up about 18 per cent after the energy company granted US equity firm Harbour Energy access to due diligence following its $13.5 billion takeover offer. 

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.05 per cent higher or 1 point higher. The market is back where it was six months ago in the second week of October 2017. On the futures market, the SPI is1 point higher.

Local economic news

The RBA is expected to keep interest rates on hold at 1.5 per cent. Inflation is remaining below the central bank’s 2 to 3 per cent target range and some analysts say the stabilisation in mining investment may be delayed until 2019.

Meantime AIG’s manufacturing index rose stronger than expected in March, hitting a reading of 63.1, breaking past the previous reading of 57.5 and surpassing the expected (56.5) reading.

Company news

Ridley Corporation (ASX:RIC) advised that one of its major suppliers for its rendering, Red Lea Chicken, has entered voluntary administration. Red Lea is also no longer operating its manufacturing facilities. Ridley’s earnings have already been impacted from the dramatic drop in volumes received from Red Lea over the last six months (as the company previously advised). Ridley shares are trading 3.7 per cent lower at $1.44.

And Evolve Education (ASX:EVO) will start the sale process for its in home childcare business, Porse. It currently accounts for 5 per cent of the company’s earnings. Its shares last traded at $0.70 on 26 March 2018.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is energy adding 2.1 per cent to 10,277 points while the worst performing sector is discretionary, shedding 1.3 per cent to 2,201 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Santos Limited (ASX:STO), rising 18 per cent to $6.00, followed by shares in Resolute Mining Limited (ASX:RSG) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX:ALL), dropping 3.7 per cent to $23.17, followed by shares in NEXTDC (ASX: NXT) and Fletcher Building (ASX:FBU).

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has lost the most, down 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is flat and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.2 per cent.

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,340 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.76 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has gained 1 per cent to US$7,080, Ethereum is holding at US$383 and EOS has lost fallen about 2 per cent to US$5.83.

Jessica Amir

Finance News Network
Jessica is a senior finance journalist and presents bulletins including the Market Outlook, Market at Midday and Market Wrap. She also interviews ASX CEOs and leading fund managers. She joined FNN in January 2017 with over six years of broadcast journalism experience including with Sky News Business, ABC 1, ABC's The Business and ABC24. She’s also worked as a TV reporter for Prime 7 and WIN News. Jessica has worked in financial planning for over six years with leading wealth managers and in real estate.