The Australia share market started the trading week on soft footing. The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.1 per cent higher or 6 points at 6,326 at noon. On the futures market, the SPI is 6 points lower. Last week, the top 200 index rose 1.1 per cent per cent last week, wrapping up earnings season.
The first half of our trading session today has been fairly volatile, with the ASX rising at the open, and then falling into the red. Half of the market is making gains and is seeing us start to claw back with Staples and HealthCare seeing the most gains.
In terms of standout gains so far this session, Northern Star (ASX:NST) has risen 15.5 per cent after it upgraded its gold production guidance for this financial year, after raising funds to buy a gold mine in Alaska
Freedom Foods (ASX:FNP) was upgraded by Citi to a buy, and today’s it’s trading 1.4 per cent higher, just a cent off a year high of $6.73.
Local economic news
Retail trade didn’t grow at all in July in seasonally adjusted terms, missing the 0.3 per cent rise the market and economists expected.
Business profits rose 2 per cent in the June quarter, better than the 1.3 per cent rise expected. Year-on-year company profits grew 11.4 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms, according to the ABS.
Gina Rinehart’s company has extended its takeover offer for Atlas Iron (ASX:AGO). Redstone Corporation’s offer will now close on 14 September 2008 at 5pm (Perth time). Shares in Atlas Iron (ASX:AGO) last traded at $0.04.
Metro Mining (ASX:MMI) has finalised its 2018 sales and inked a new binding contract with China’s state-owned group called, State Power Investment Corporation Aluminium and Electric Power Investment Company (SPIC). The new deal is for 300,000 wet metric tonnes of bauxite in the 2018 calendar year. This means the company has now fully sold all planned 2018 production. Shares in Metro Mining Limited (ASX:MMI) are trading 2.6 per cent lower at $0.19 at noon.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector S&P/ASX Health Care adding 1.1 per cent, while the worst performing sector S&P/ASX Telco Services, shedding 1.14 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX:NST), rising 15.5 per cent to $8.04, followed by shares in Speedcast International Limited (ASX:SDA) and Wisetech Global Limited (ASX:WTC).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Western Areas Limited (ASX:WSA),dropping 5.7 per cent to $2.48, followed by shares in Bellamy's Australia Limited (ASX:BAL) and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Limited (ASX:FPH).
Lower. Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.5 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.2 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,199 an ounce.
Iron ore price gained 0.7 per cent to US$66.34 and its futures are pointing to a fall of 0.8 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.78 US cents.
Bitcoin has gained 1.4 per cent to US$7,260, Ethereum has fallen 0.3 per cent to US$292 and EOS has gained 0.7 per cent to US$6.53.