Once again Australian investors are experiencing another uninspiring session on the ASX200, following a decline in commodity prices overnight. The local bourse dropped at the open but managed to recoup some of those losses in the first two hours of trade, but is still tracking 0.17 per cent lower at noon. Energy is faring the worst after a drop in the price of oil overnight, but we’ve also seen losses in Telcos and the Materials space.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 8 points down at 5,659. On the futures market the SPI is 2 points lower.
Checking in with how Asian markets are tracking now, Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has also lost 0.1 per cent.
According to latest figures from the ABS, Australia’s trade surplus has fallen to the lowest point in six months to $555 million, a decrease of $2.6 billion on the surplus in March 2017. The decline was largely due to a reduction in exports, with imports relatively unchanged.
Austal Limited (ASX:ASB) has signed a teaming agreement with ASC for the build of the $35 billion SEA5000 Future Frigates Program. The naval ship builder says the agreement will offer the Australian government a sustainable shipbuilding capability in Australia. The Future Frigate Program will deliver replacement vessels for the existing ANZAC fleet with construction to commence in 2020. Shares in Austal are trading up 2.05 per cent at $1.74.
Slater and Gordon Limited (ASX:SGH) has advised the market it has received a notice that a potential class action is proceeding. The embattled law firm says it has received correspondence from Johnson Winter and Slattery Lawyers on behalf of a shareholder to commence legal proceedings against SGH. The claim will be based on alleged misleading representations made by Slater and Gordon. Shares in Slater and Gordon last traded at $0.09.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Healthcare, gaining 1.4 per cent to 23,380. Shares in Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) have risen 2.76 per cent and trading at $0.84. Shares in CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) and Estia Health (ASX:EHE) are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Energy, falling 1.7 per cent to 9,003. Shares in Caltex (ASX:CTX) have fallen 3.44 per cent, trading at $31.91. Shares in Woodside (ASX:WPL) and Oil Search (ASX:OSH) are also lower.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,287 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7533.