Tech stocks weigh, Major miners rise: ASX down 0.1% at noon

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Aussie sharemarket fell in early trade before easing back some losses at lunchtime. However, the local bourse remains a touch lower at noon. Across the sectors, technology is weighing while materials have the winner’s seat. Communication services and consumer discretionary are also in red territory, while real estate and energy are both edging higher.

Tech stocks are falling, with Tyro Payments (ASX:TYR) down 3.4 per cent to $1.70 and Afterpay owner Block (ASX:SQ2) down 3.4 per cent to $179.06.

Major banks are lower, except Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG), which is trading 0.5 per cent higher at $204.20. ANZ Banking (ASX:ANZ) is down 0.9 per cent to $27.35 following the commencement of ANZ Worldline Payment Solutions under a joint venture with European payments provider Worldline. Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) has fallen 0.8 per cent to $104.94, Westpac (ASX:WBC) is down 0.8 per cent to $24.04 and National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) is trading 0.3 per cent lower at $32.27.

On a brighter note, mining giants are higher. Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) has jumped 1.5 per cent to $20.97, BHP Group (ASX:BHP) has added 1 per cent to $52.28 and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) is trading 0.6 per cent higher at $119.83.

Gold stocks are mixed. Northern Star (ASX:NST) has dropped 1.7 per cent to $10.56 and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) is down 0.8 per cent to $4.37, while Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) is up 0.8 per cent to $26.95.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.1 per cent or 6.1 points lower at 7493.5.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 17 points.

What we are keeping an eye out for today

Energy stocks are on watch today after the oil price tumbled on news from the Biden Administration and the meeting outcome from OPEC+. However, Santos (ASX:STO) is up 1.3 per cent to $7.84, Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) is up 0.3 per cent to $32.20 and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) is trading flat at $1.55.

On the broker front, Tabcorp (ASX:TAH) has received a few broker upgrades. Credit Suisse has upgraded its rating to outperform with a price target of $6.20, Goldman Sachs has also put a buy rating and $6.20 price target as well. The brokers note that the demerger is a key catalyst in “unlocking significant shareholder value.” Shares are trading 2.4 per cent higher at $5.47.

Bell Potter has cut Uniti’s (ASX:UWL) rating to a hold with a price target of $5. Shares are trading 0.3 per cent lower at $4.72.

As for companies, CIMIC (ASX:CIM) is trading flat at $22.00 after the company decided to remove its nominee directors from the Ventia board and to waive certain other rights in order to avoid any perceived conflict of interest.

Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) is trading 0.5 per cent higher at $204.20 amid news to expand its presence in the solar sector. The investment banking giant is set to buy a 50 per cent stake in Island Green Power, a U.K.-based renewable energy developer.

Eligible shareholders of Suncorp (ASX:SUN), Telstra (ASX:TLS), and Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE) are set to receive a dividend payment or reinvestment of shares today among the 14 companies slated to pay. Suncorp (ASX:SUN) is down 0.3 per cent to $11.09, Telstra (ASX:TLS) is down 0.6 per cent to $3.94 and Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE) is trading 0.2 per cent higher at $11.60.

Local economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the lending Indicators for February. New loan commitments fell 3.7 per cent for housing, rose 6.5 per cent for personal fixed term loans and fell 40.2 per cent for business construction.

CoreLogic released its national home value index for March, which was up 0.7 per cent, a subtle increase on the 0.6 per cent lift recorded in February. It said the uptick in the monthly rate of growth was primarily driven by stronger conditions in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and the ACT, along with several regional areas, offsetting a slip in values across Sydney and Melbourne.

Sydney’s growth rate is showing the most significant slowdown, falling from a peak of 9.3 per cent in the three months to May 2021, to 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2022. Melbourne’s housing market has seen the quarterly rate of growth slow from 5.8 per cent in April last year to just 0.1 per cent over the past three months.

Company news

Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) has completed its $175 million acquisition of Helloworld Travel. Shares are trading 0.6 per cent lower at $23.62.

NZ financial group Heartland (ASX:HGH) is set to acquire StockCo from its current shareholders, StockCo Australia which owns 70 per cent, and agribusiness Elders which owns 30 per cent. Shares are flat at $2.09.

Domain Holdings Australia (ASX:DHG) is set to acquire real estate campaign management platform Realbase for $180 million plus contingent consideration of up to $50 million. Shares are in a trading halt, and last traded at $4.01. 

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is materials, up over 1 per cent. The worst-performing sector is information technology, down over 1 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Allkem (ASX:AKE), trading 7.4 per cent higher at $12.28. It is followed by shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Novonix (ASX:NVX).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU), trading 4.3 per cent lower at $1.88. It is followed by shares in PolyNovo (ASX:PNV) and IDP Education (ASX:IEL).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1934.04 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.1 per cent higher at US$158.30 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.50 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 74.83 US cents.

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