Jobless rate data released: ASX down 0.24% at noon

Market Reports

by Peter Milios

In March, the jobless rate in the economy remained at 3.5 per cent, which was better than expected, and 53,000 new jobs were created, exceeding the anticipated 20,000. The participation rate was unchanged at 66.7 per cent. These figures indicate a tight labour market and increase the likelihood of continual rate hikes, all other factors unchanged.

The Australian dollar increased above US67¢ after a positive jobs report reinforced the argument for the Reserve Bank to keep interest rates at elevated levels. The upbeat data led to a rise in bond yields, with the three-year rate increasing by six basis points to 2.97 per cent, the one-year rate advancing five basis points to 3.25 per cent, and the 10-year rate gaining three basis points to 3.29 per cent.

Overall, at noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.24 per cent lower at 7,326.00.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 21 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy, up 0.6 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Consumer Staples, down 1.16 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC), trading 3.05 per cent higher at $6.935. It is followed by shares in Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ) and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS).

The worst-performing large cap is IDP Education (ASX:IEL), trading 2.84 per cent lower at $26.70. It is followed by shares in Qantas Airways (ASX:QAN) and Coles Group (ASX:COL).

Asian markets

Asia-Pacific markets fell on Thursday after minutes from the March Federal Open Market Committee meeting showed that Fed officials see the US economy entering a recession in the wake of the banking crisis.

Comments from the Fed erased earlier gains seen on Wall Street after the release of the U.S. consumer price index report that showed inflation cooled in March. The US CPI rose 0.1 per cent for the month and 5 per cent from a year ago while core CPI rose 5.6 per cent on an annual basis.

Stocks on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led losses in the region after opening 2 per cent lower, while the Hang Seng Tech index slid 2.51 per cent. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite shed 0.2 per cent and Shenzhen Component fell 0.7 per cent. South Korea’s Kospi slid 0.15 per cent and the Kosdaq was down 0.2 per cent, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell fractionally, with the Topix also shedding 0.1 per cent.

Overnight on Wall Street, stocks ended lower. The Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a four-day win streak, erasing earlier gains following the U.S. inflation report and shed 0.11 per cent. The S&P 500 declined 0.41 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite fell by 0.85 per cent

Company news

Omega Oil & Gas (ASX:OMA) has achieved outstanding exploration success, in which their canyon 2 well in the Bowen Basin has intersected 293 metres of gas. Managing Director Lauren Bennett commented: “Omega’s proximity to well established QLD gas infrastructure and the clear requirement for more gas places Omega in a favourable position to build on this exploration success.” Shares are trading 46.2 per cent higher at 28.5 cents.

Future Battery Minerals (ASX:FBM) announced that assay results have confirmed the discovery of Lithium bearing claystone at the Nevada Lithium Project in the US. In response, Technical Director Robin Cox commented: “The results have far exceeded all expectations, which is a credit to our in-country team who have done a remarkable job planning and executing the maiden drill programme.” Shares are trading 22.5 per cent at 9.8 cents.

RareX (ASX:REE) has announced an update to their recent Mineral Resource, re-framing the Cummins Range Project as a highly significant phosphate-hosted rare earths deposit commencing from surface. The recent Mineral Resource update, will be followed by a further significant Resource update due by late April 2023. Shares are trading 1.64 per cent higher at 6.2 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1782.70 an ounce.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 2.3 per cent fall.
One Australian dollar is buying 67.14 US cents.

Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter?

Would you like to receive our daily news to your inbox?