Lacking direction on Monday: Aus shares flat at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market has started the week on bumpy grounds, following lacklustre leads. We headed lower at the open after Wall Street’s three major indices lost over two per cent on Friday and we have muted commodity leads, with iron ore holding flat, crude oil steady at about $62 after falling at the weekend, while gold and copper are trading lower.

But gains in half of our sectors saw the ASX200 gain back ground, but its now heading lower with energy and mining stocks weighing after iron ore futures are heading south, with the likes of Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) trading 1.3 per cent lower but lithium players like Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Orocobre (ASX:ORE) over 2 and 3 per cent lower respectively. 

The S&P/ASX 200 index is flat 5,790. On the futures market the SPI is 8 points lower.

Company news 

Atlas Iron (ASX:AGO) shares are over 40 per cent higher today, making it one of the best performing stocks after multibillion dollar WA mining company, Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) entered into a binding deal to snap up all of Atas’ shares. Mineral Resources planned to move as part of its focus of increasing iron ore production over the next 20 to 30 years and to also increase scale and lower costs. Atlas directors have also recommended shareholders vote in favour of the proposal, with Atlas unit holders to receive 1 new MinRes (Mineral Resources) share for every 571 Atlas share, based on the price of 4 April 2018, which values the offer at 59 per cent premium. If implemented, Atlas will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Mineral Resources. For Atlas it offers greater access to capital for growth, scale and a larger production base. Shares in Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) are trading 3 per cent lower at $16.71, while if we looked at Atlas Shares they are 42 higher at $0.03.

Clean energy operator and provider, Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN) refinanced a $605 million corporate loan facility using its 6 wind farms as security. The five-year loan is said to be a part of its plan to evolve in the energy market, with its wind farm output to be traded as a portfolio. The loan will also enable the firm to support business growth. The syndicated facility is with Goldman Sachs as the initial lender, while CBA and Westpac are lenders of working capital. Shares in Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN) are trading 0.8 per cent lower at $0.59.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is staples adding 0.8 per cent to 10,311 points while the worst performing sector is materials, shedding 0.4 per cent to 11,026 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Alumina (ASX:AWC), rising 3.8 per cent to $2.48, followed by shares in Macquarie Atlas Roads Group (ASX:MQA) and IPH (ASX:IPH). With Macquarie Atlas Roads (ASX:MQA) announced plans to internalise management, being on look out for a new CEO and renaming itself Atlas Arteria.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Orocobre (ASX:ORE), dropping 3.2 per cent to $4.85, followed by shares in Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) and Western Areas (ASX:WSA).

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.01per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added/ 0.7 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.04 per cent.

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,332 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 76.89 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin is trading 3 per cent higher US$7,148, Ethereum is trading at US$412 and TRON is trading at US$0.04.