ASX falls 1.56% at noon despite positive employment data

Market Reports

by Peter Milios

Australia's unemployment rate decreased to 3.5 per cent in February from 3.7 per cent in January, and the economy added 64,559 jobs month-on-month, beating expectations. Full-time employment also increased, while the participation rate decreased to 66.6 per cent.

Despite the positive data, shares did not move significantly, but the Australian dollar rose, indicating that currency traders expect the Reserve Bank to consider rate increases to manage economic growth.

Credit Suisse has revealed plans to borrow up to CHF 50 billion from the Swiss National Bank through a Covered Loan Facility, as well as a short-term liquidity facility, to support its core businesses and clients.

The bank has also announced an offer to repurchase certain OpCo senior debt securities for cash of up to approximately CHF 3 billion. These actions are part of Credit Suisse's strategy to simplify and focus its business around client needs.

Overall, at noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 1.56 per cent lower at 6,958.5.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 121 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Health Care, up 0.48 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Energy, down 3.91 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST), trading 1.08 per cent higher at $11.22. It is followed by shares in Auckland International Airport (ASX:AIA) and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM).

The worst-performing large cap is Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC), trading 5.64 per cent lower at $6.605. It is followed by shares in Computershare (ASX:CPU) and Worley (ASX:WOR).

Asian markets

Asia-Pacific markets dropped on Thursday as turmoil around Credit Suisse added onto banking fears in the region. Shares of Credit Suisse plunged to a new all-time low for the second consecutive day after its top investor ruled out further assistance.

In Japan, the Topix fell 2.27 per cent on Thursday morning, leading declines in the wider region and as the country saw its trade data for February come in lower than expected. The Nikkei 225 fell 1.93 per cent.

South Korea’s Kospi also fell 1.06 per cent and the Kosdaq fell 1.05 per cent.

Company news

RareX (ASX:REE) has announced more broad +400 metre and +200 metre rare earth and phosphate intercepts have been discovered at their Cummins Range Resource. RareX Managing Director, Jeremy Robinson, said “The impending resource upgrade at Cummins Range is shaping up as a pivotal development in the Company’s strategy to develop a long-life mining and processing operation at Cummins Range.” Shares are trading 3.5 per cent higher at 4.5 cents.

Ora Banda Mining (ASX:OBM) announced that it has entered into an agreement with Lamerton and Geoda for the sale of certain noncore Lady Ida tenements for a total consideration of $10 million. In response, the managing director, Luke Creagh commented, “The sale of these tenements for $10 million is a great outcome for OBM shareholders as they do not align with OBM’s strategy to target high-grade underground deposits.” Shares are trading 4 per cent higher at 13 cents.

Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA) has announced that 1,200 tonnes of saleable lithium concentrate has been produced at their North American Lithium operation in Québec, Canada. In response, Managing Director, Brett Lynch commented, “As the electrification revolution continues, Québec is in pole position thanks to its sustainable hydropower, leading infrastructure and proximity to market.” Shares are trading 1.2 per cent lower at 21.3 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1782.70 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.1 per cent higher at US$133.10 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 0.7 per cent fall.
One Australian dollar is buying 66.15 US cents.

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