Export prices beat consensus: ASX down 0.49% at noon

Market Reports

by Peter Milios

Australian export prices exceeded expectations by rising 1.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2023, driven by a rebound in metalliferous ores and metal scrap. The increase was higher than the expected 2.6 per cent decline. However, import prices for the same period fell 4.2 per cent against the expected 0.5 per cent increase. These figures were reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Global oil prices rebounded on Tuesday after a 6 per cent drop in the past two days due to concerns about slowing demand. Benchmark Brent crude oil futures rose 0.5 per cent to $78.07 a barrel in Asian trade, after falling 3.8 per cent overnight and 2.4 per cent the day before. The oil market is at a five-week low after OPEC+ unexpectedly cut output by 1.1 million barrels a day. Fuel markets indicate weakness, and some Asian refiners are considering reducing processing as margins shrink. Woodside's (ASX:WDS) shares were down 1 per cent, while Santos (ASX:STO) and Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) lost 0.9 per cent and 0.8 per cent, respectively.

Overall, at noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.49 per cent lower at 7,280.80.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 40 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Consumer Staples, up 0.29 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Health Care, down 0.95 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Mercury NZ (ASX:MCY), trading 4.46 per cent higher at $5.85. It is followed by shares in Allkem (ASX:AKE) and Infratil (ASX:IFT).

The worst-performing large cap is Steadfast Group (ASX:SDF), trading 2.07 per cent lower at $5.915. It is followed by shares in Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) and Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN).

Asian markets

Asia-Pacific market were lower on Thursday as investors focus on the Bank of Japan’s first policy meeting led by new BOJ governor Kazuo Ueda. Ueda is expected to maintain the ultra loose monetary policy of predecessor Haruhiko Kuroda for now, but expectations are that he will plot a path out of this policy in the future, according to media reports.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.41 per cent in early trade. 

South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.1 per cent on its open and the Kosdaq dropped 0.42 per cent, as electronics giant Samsung Electronics posted a 94 per cent year-on-year drop in operating profit for the first quarter.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also seems set for a lower open as futures tied to the index traded at 19,735, compared to the 19,757 close on Wednesday.

Singapore’s preliminary estimates for its unemployment rate in the first quarter of 2023, is also expected later today.

Company news

Blackmores (ASX:BKL) announced that it has entered into a Scheme Implementation Deed with Kirin Holdings Company for 100 per cent of Blackmores for $95.00 per Blackmores share. Blackmores Board Unanimously Recommends, whilst the Largest Shareholder is in favour. CEO and Managing Director, Alastair Symington, said: The Kirin proposal recognises the strong leadership position that Blackmores, through its brands and people, has established in the natural health sector across the Asia Pacific region over our long history.” Shares are trading 21.8 per cent higher at $93.50.

Omega Oil & Gas (ASX:OMA) has confirmed a gas discovery at their Canyon-2 well in Queensland. In response, Managing Director Lauren Bennett commented: ”The Omega team has executed its plan for the Canyon-2 well effectively and safely, ahead of schedule and under the pre-drill budget.” Shares are trading 15.6 per cent higher at 26 cents.

Linius Technologies (ASX:LNU) announced a new agreement to provide its sports solution, Whizzard, to IMG’s digital archive platform, IMG Replay. Chief Executive Officer (CEO), James Brennan, said “This is a significant validation of the power of our Linius Video Services (LVS) platform and the value unlocked by our Whizzard product for one of the world’s largest sports and media companies.” Shares are trading 33.33 per cent higher at 0.4 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$2002.20 an ounce.
Iron ore is 3.2 per cent higher at US$107.65 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 1.26 per cent rise.
One Australian dollar is buying 66.08 US cents.

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