China tariff stress: Aus shares 0.3% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market has seen its strong advance falter after President Trump’s threat of new tariffs on China. It is still sitting above yesterday's close despite a big fall throughout the morning. Westpac (ASX:WBC) is currently weighing the market with a 0.7 per cent loss. Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) is also weighing down at 1.1 per cent.
Super Retail Group (ASX:SUL) has fallen 3.9 per cent this morning while Oz Minerals (ASX:OZL) is down 3.3 per cent. It is now tracking 0.3 per cent higher at noon. The healthcare sector is leading the way and the Real Estates investment trust sector trailing behind. Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise/fall of 3.7 per cent. We are seeing the likes CSL (ASX:CSL) and Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) make gains.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 17 points up at 6121. On the futures market the SPI is 9 points higher.

Economic news

The RBA has released its minutes from the meeting where it decided to keep interest rates on hold. Analysts say there seems to have been some doubt over rate direction.

And in terms of economic data, the ABS released Residential property prices which fell 0.7 per cent in the March quarter 2018. Australia's two largest cities led the fall Sydney recorded the third consecutive quarter of falling property prices (-1.2 per cent) and the first annual price fall (-0.5 per cent) since the March quarter 2012, while Melbourne property prices fell 0.6 per cent, the first quarterly price fall since September quarter 2012.

Company news

Regenerative medicine company, Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) today announced that Joseph R. Swedish has joined its Board of Directors. He has more than two decades of healthcare leadership experience as the CEO for major US healthcare organizations. Most recently as Executive Chairman, President and CEO of Anthem Inc, a Fortune 33 company and the leading health benefits provider in the US. Shares Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) in trading 0.66 per cent lower at $1.51

Long serving chairman of software company, Reckon (ASX:RKN) Ian Ferrier has announced he will retire next month. Philip Hayman will be appointed as an independent non-executive director of the Company. Mr Hayman was one of the co-founders of Reckon in 1987, alongside Greg Wilkinson. He departed from Reckon in 2004. Reckon (ASX:RKN) shares are trading 1.01 per cent lower at $0.98

Atlas Iron (ASX:AGO) said it would give Mineral Resources three business days to match a buyout offer made from Hancock Prospecting. Gina Rinehart's company and mining services group Mineral Resources are in a bidding battle for Atlas. Atlas is an iron ore company in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

And Mr Robert Priestley resigns from the board of ASX (ASX:ASX). He says there has been considerable interest in the ACCC banking matter which may become a potential distraction for the ASX and my Board colleagues. I think the right course of action in these circumstances is to step aside from the ASX Board to allow the situation to be fully resolved. Mr Priestley was appointed a director of ASX in May 2017.

IPOs

Bounty Mining (ASX:B2Y) started trading today. The coal mining and resource development company floated with an issue price of $0.35, opened at $0.38 and its trading at $0.40

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is healthcare adding 2.1 per cent to 30407 points while the worst performing sector is real estate, shedding 0.6 per cent to 1415 points.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is IDP Education (ASX:IEL), rising 4.68 per cent to $10.29, followed by shares in Orocobre (ASX:ORE) and CSL (ASX:CSL).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN), dropping 3.76 per cent to $16.27, followed by shares in Super Retail Group (ASX:SUL) and Oz Minerals (ASX:OZL).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.5 per cent,
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 1.9 per cent,
Shanghai Composite has lost 1.5 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,283 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 74.08 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading higher:
Bitcoin has gained 4.13 per cent to US$6746,
Ethereum gained about 4.7 per cent to US$520,
EOS is up 2.85 per cent to $10.64