Banks and iron ore miners offset energy losses, December trade surplus up $7.4b: ASX up 0.4% at lunch

Market Reports

by Anna Napoli

The local sharemarket is up 0.4 per cent or 27 points to 6828 as we head into afternoon trade. On the futures market the SPI is 25 points higher. Iron ore miners are among the gainers in today’s session. With the likes of Fortescue Metals up 3.5 per cent, and BHP up 0.8 per cent. The big banks are also pushing higher with CBA and Westpac both lifting 0.5 per cent. But it’s a sea of red for our oil majors with the likes of Woodside and Oil Search heading south, down 1 per cent and 0.7 per cent respectivly. The moves may be linked to a fall in oil prices on Friday on the back of a build in US crude inventories and concerns that new pandemic restrictions in China will but the brakes on fuel demand in the world’s biggest oil importer. Ampol is among the worst performers after successfully wrapping up a $300 million capital raising.

Local economic news

The December goods trade surplus of $9 billion was a significant increase, up $7.4 billion from the November surplus. While imports have fallen following a November spike to be more in line with recent trends. The strong surplus is heavily influenced by trade with China. Imports from China fell $641 million (7 per cent) in December, while exports to China increased $2.3 billion (21 per cent). Australia’s goods trade surplus with China alone stands at $5.2 billion for the month. The main drivers were increases to metalliferous ores, cereals and coal.

Broker moves

Credit Suisse has downgraded Syrah Resources to neutral from outperform. The investment bank says Syrah’s Balama facility remains suspended due to soft graphite prices and an adequately supplied market. A Balama restart is forecast for the last quarter of 2021. Shares in Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) are 6.9 per cent lower at $1.22.

Company news

Crown Resorts says ratings agency Moodys has withdrawn the credit rating relating to the Euro Medium Term Note programme previously established by Publishing and Broadcasting (Finance), a subsidiary of Crown. Crown Resorts (ASX:CWN) is trading 0.2 per cent higher at $9.96.

Aumake’s total second-quarter online gross merchandise value rose 60 per cent quarter-on-quarter to $3.2 million. Physical store revenue went the other way declining 35 per cent to $800,000. The company says this was consistent with strategy to divert instore traffic to online marketplace. Shares in Aumake (ASX:AUK) are trading 1.7 per cent higher at $0.06.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is consumer discretionary gaining 1.03 per cent while the sector trailing behind is energy dropping 0.97 per cent. The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Nearmap (ASX:NEA) rising 5.1 per cent to $2.28, followed by shares in Net Wealth Group (ASX:NWL) and IDP Education (ASX:IEL) The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Ampol (ASX:ALD) dropping 4.8 per cent to $29.27 , followed by shares in Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC) and Webjet (ASX:WEB).

Commodities

Gold is trading at US$1,859 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.9 per cent lower at $169.97
Futures are suggesting a fall of 0.8 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.19 US.