The Australian share market opened higher today, defying weak leads from Wall Street and falls in Iron Ore price. The mood didn’t last long though and the local bourse has since been reacting to a suite of economic news released in the first two hours of trade, which has left the charts looking like a yo-yo trail, after PMI and house prices fell in May.
The ASX200 is now tracking 0.06 per cent lower at noon. Utilites are leading this charge so far, followed by gains in Health Care, Industrials and A-Reits.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 3 points down at 5,721. On the futures market the SPI is 19 points lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.8 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has fallen 0.5 per cent.
Manufacturing has fallen from its near 15-year highs with the Performance of Manufacturing index falling by 4.4 points to 54.8 in May. A reading above 50 indicates the sector is expanding and it’s the eighth consecutive month of growth for the sector.
To home prices in May. Capital city home prices fell as expected, but by 1.1 per cent, which was the biggest monthly fall in prices in 18 months. Prices were however 8.3 per cent higher over the year.
Link Group (ASX:LNK) has invested $64.7 million in Property Exchange Limited (PEXA), taking its shareholding in the company from 11.4 per cent to 19.7 per cent. The investment recording keeping company says the investment was funded through a combination of cash reserves and existing debt. Link Group’s investment is PEXA also forms a part of its strategy to invest in attractive and adjacent markets. Shares in Link Group (ASX:LNK) are trading 1.55 per cent higher to $7.87.
Hunter Hall Limited International (ASX:HHL) has advised its shareholders approved the merger with Pengana Capital Group Limited. It comes as 92 per cent of the global investment manager’s shareholders approved the merger. The combination of Hunter Hall and Pengana Capital’s businesses will take their funds under management to $3.1 billion. Shares in Hunter Hall Limited International (ASX:HHL) are trading 1.01 per cent higher to $3.00
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Utilites, gaining 2 per cent to 9,167. Shares in APA Group (ASX:APA) have risen 2.61 per cent and trading at $9.83. Shares in AGL Energy Limited (ASX:AGL) and Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX:SKI) are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Consumer Staples, falling 1.65 per cent to 9,201. Shares in Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES) have fallen 3.58 per cent, trading at $41.17. Shares In Blackmores Limited (ASX:BKL) and Bellamy's Australia Limited (ASX:BAL) are also lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,270 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying 74.01 US cents.