Safe haven gold soars as Middle East tensions rise: ASX tracking 1% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market has failed to gain momentum throughout the morning and is now tracking 1 per cent lower at noon. The Independence Group (ASX:IGO) shares are soaring as they reported their first half metal production beat guidance. Meanwhile, Polynovo (ASX:PNV), and shares in Pro Medicus (ASX:PME) have seen their shares drop. The best performing sector is Energy, the only sector in the black. The worst performing sector is Infotech.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 67 points down at 6,760. On the futures market the SPI is 65 points lower.

Local Economic News

The number of job vacancies in Australia decreased by 0.4 per cent in the November 2019 quarter, and 2.3 per cent over the year, according to new trend figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The number of dwellings approved rose 0.8 per cent in November 2019, in trend terms.

Broker moves

Credit Suisse has downgraded the Pendal Group (ASX:PDL) to an Underperform from Neutral. The analysts expect FY20 to be yet another challenging year for Pendal Group. Weak fund performance might skew risk to the downside, and thus the rating has been pulled back. Price target drops to $8.15 from $8.40. Shares in the Pendal Group (ASX:PDL) are currently 4.4 per cent lower at $8.63.

Company news

The Independence Group (ASX:IGO) reports strong results from its Nova and Tropicana operations for the December 2019 Quarter (2Q20) and for the first half of the 2020 Financial Year (1H20). Consistently strong operational performance at Nova has resulted in nickel, copper and cobalt production for 2Q20 and 1H20 that exceeds the pro-rata guidance range for FY20. Meanwhile at Tropicana, gold production and gold sales has also exceeded pro-rata FY20 guidance following an excellent 2Q20 result. The Company notes the recent significant bushfire activity in the Shires of Dundas and Esperance continues to affect local communities and disrupt supplies into Western Australia. The company does not expect any material impact to the 3Q20 result. Shares in the Independence Group (ASX:IGO) are 8 per cent higher at $7.03.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy, adding 1.2 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Infotech with the fewest gains at 2.3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Independence Group (ASX:IGO) rising 8.1 per cent to $7.03, followed by shares in Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Polynovo (ASX:PNV), dropping 5.4 per cent to $1.92, followed by shares in Pro Medicus (ASX:PME) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,600 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 0.5 per cent lower at US$95.11
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.9 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.61 US cents.

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