Construction work done falls 1.9% in March Qtr: ASX tracking 0.1% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market has snapped its winning streak and has shed 0.1 per cent at noon, after the local bourse made gains for the five past sessions. Nevertheless, we are still trading at fresh high and levels the local bourse hasn’t been in since December 2007. However, today’s selling comes on the back of profit taking in the financial sector. While IOOF Holdings (ASX:IFL) shares have shed 5.7 per cent. They had their sell rating retained by Citi, with brokers saying IOOF’s risk to the downside is increasing and the ANZ P&I deal is looking increasingly difficult. The broker’s price target is $5.00 and at noon today, it’s trading 6.1 per cent lowerat $5.43. Shares in Fortescue (ASX:FMG) have fallen - they announced that they will develop the Queens Valley mining area in the Pilbara region at a cost of around US$287 million.Rare earth minerals miner Lynas (ASX:LYC) have shot up over ten per cent today. Earlier this week they signed a MoU with Texas-based Blue Line Corp in a move that takes them into the US. The Energy sector is leading the way and the REIT sector trailing behind.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 8 points down at 6,492. On the futures market the SPI is 2 points higher.

Local economic news

The trend estimate for total construction work done fell 2.4 per cent in the March quarter 2019. The seasonally adjusted estimate for total construction work done fell 1.9 per cent to $50,787.9 million in the March quarter.

The trend estimate for total building work done fell 0.9 per cent in that period and the trend estimate for non-residential building work done rose 1.6 per cent and residential building work fell 2.4 per cent.

Company news

Healthscope (ASX:HSO) shareholders have voted in favour of the scheme of arrangement under which an entity controlled by Brookfield Business Partners and its institutional partners will acquire all of the shares in the company. Shares in Healthscope (ASX:HSO) are 0.2 per cent lower at $2.46.

Downer EDI (ASX:DOW) has appointed Peter Watson to the position of Non-executive Director, effective today. The Chairman of Downer, Mike Harding, said Mr Watson was an experienced Chief Executive Officer and Non-executive Director, including in the industrial, transport, defence, health, justice and utilities sectors. Shares in Downer EDI (ASX:DOW) are 0.1 per cent higher at $7.92.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy adding 1.01 per cent, while the worst performing sector is REITs, shedding 0.7 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), rising 6.4 per cent to $0.83, followed by shares in Lynas Corp (ASX:LYC) and Orocobre (ASX:ORE).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Medibank Private (ASX:MPL), dropping 5.4 per cent to $3.14, followed by shares in IOOF Holdings (ASX:IFL) and ALS (ASX:ALQ).

Asian markets

Asian markets are mixed: Tokyo’s Nikkei rose 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is 0.1 per cent higher, and China’s Shanghai Composite has lost 0.4 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,274 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 0.3 per cent to US$102
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 2.6 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.86 US cents.