ASX slips on trade war fears: Aus shares 0.5% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

Trade war concerns again returned the US, which saw Wall Street go into sell-down mode again with that weak sentiment flowing through to the ASX. As a result, the main index, the top 200, fell at the open and is remaining underwater at noon, with the mining sector leading the decline, with Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) down 2.6 per cent, leading the major heavyweight miners lower, while the Australian dollar continues to trade at one-year lows.

Iron ore price gained 0.2 per cent to US$65.49 and its futures are pointing to a fall of 1 per cent.

APN Outdoor (ASX:APO) has inked the deal to be taken over for $1.1 billion by French company, JCDecaux and it's trading 0.5 per cent higher. The board declared it will pay as special dividend of $0.30 immediately before implementation. The takeover needs to pass through the regular approvals and it will step out the timetable in July 2018.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 30 points or 0.5 per cent lower at 6,181. On the futures market the SPI is 22 points lower.

Company news

Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) is one of today’s top performers and one of the few shining lights among the mining space today, despite UBS Group and its related bodies, reducing their major holding in the graphite company. Just last week, it announced it’s expecting to produce less graphite concentrate than expected for the first half of 2018. Today shares in Syrah Resources (ASX:SYR) are up by 1.1 per cent to $2.76.

Investment fund, Contango Global Growth (ASX:CQG) held its AGM today with its board casting their votes on the change of name to WCM Global Growth, which it says will help promote the company, aligning it with the WCM brand and its strong performance. The name change is now subject to a shareholder vote. Contango Global Growth (ASX:CQG) shares are trading flat at $1.05.

And in small caps news, medical dermatology company, Botanix (ASX:BOT) announced the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority approved the first cannabidiol based product for epilepsy. Botanix says it’s a significant announcement for them as Cannabidiol, is used in its acne and other dermatological products, so it means the key ingredient it uses is safe and effective. Shares in Botanix (ASX:BOT) trade 2.3 per cent higher at $0.11.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is utilities adding 0.6 per cent, while the worst performing sector is materials, shedding 1.5 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Speedcast International Limited (ASX:SDA), rising 2.3 per cent to $6.00, followed by shares in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (ASX:API) and AGL Energy (ASX:AGL).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Trade Me Group Limited (ASX:TME), dropping 3.9 per cent to $4.46 after its CEO announced he’ll step down, followed by shares in Wisetech Global Limited (ASX:WTC) and Beach Energy Limited (ASX:BPT).

Asian markets 

Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.9 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost the most, 1.3 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,266 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 74.06 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin trades at US$6,245, Ethereum is at US$457 and EOS is at US$8.12.