The Australian has started the trading week in the red and at noon we are 0.4 per cent lower. On Friday our market finished virtually flat and last week we made a minor loss of 0.1 per cent.
The consumer discretionary and staples are pushing higher, while most of the other sectors are seeing soft selling with the market awaiting tomorrow’s Reserve Bank meeting minutes and Thursday’s all-important employment data, with the unemployment rate tipped to remain on hold at 5.4 per cent.
On the stock front, Ausdrill (ASX:ASL) made headlines earlier after hitting $1.77, becoming one of today’s top performers, after it’s been sold off heavily from 8 June 2018. But now it’s pared back some of its gains.
We are seeing the likes of Rio (ASX:RIO) and BHP (ASX:BHP) trading slightly lower, with not much movement in the iron ore price. It’s stable at US$64.04 while it futures price are eyeing a rise of 0.53 cent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.4 per cent or 23 points down at noon at 6,245. On the futures market the SPI is 22 points lower.
Tourist arrival data was released from the ABS, revealing Malaysian visitors to Australia have dropped 12 per cent from last year. Overall for year, short term visitors to our nation have grown 3.7 per cent, compared to last year (in trend terms).
Downer (ASX:DOW) has won a five-year Chevron contract, to provide maintenance and support services to two Western Australian facilities. The contract also includes support services provided by Spotless, at Gordon and Wheatstone. Shares in Downer (ASX:DOW) are trading 1.2 per cent higher at $7.21 at noon.
Mirvac (ASX:MGR) has secured Suncorp as a tenant for its proposed office development in Brisbane’s CBD. The financial services giant committed to leasing 66 per cent of the 31 level building for 10 years. The 80 Ann Street building should be built in FY22. Mirvac also has a put and call option with Construction engineering company, Wee Hur to buy the site for $79 million, which is set to occur in the first quarter of FY19. Shares in Mirvac (ASX:MGR) are trading 0.22 per cent lower at $2.23 at noon.
In small caps, shares in Emerge Gaming (ASX:EM1) saw a stellar rally today after announcing it has completed a ‘no cost’ mass user acquisition, connecting its Arcade X platform to 80 per cent of South Africa’s population, connecting its platform to over 50 million paying major mobile network subscribers. The deal will result in Emerge Gaming receiving 20 per cent of all user subscription fees. As a result, its shares are trading 25 per cent higher at $0.02 at noon.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Consumer Staples adding 0.5 per cent, while the worst performing sector Health Care on the back of profit taking after it gained a lot of momentrum last week. Today Health Care's down 1.4 per cent at noon.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Bega Cheese Limited (ASX:BGA), rising 4.9 per cent to $7.67, followed by shares in G8 Education Limited (ASX:GEM) and Metcash Limited (ASX:MTS).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Evolution Mining Limited (ASX:EVN), dropping 2.3 per cent to $3.23, followed by shares in Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM) and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation Limited (ASX:FPH).
Mostly lower: Japan’s Nikkei is not trading due to Marine Day, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.5 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,243 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 74.22 US cents.
Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading higher. Bitcoin has gained 1.6 per cent to US$6,370, Ethereum has gained about 3 per cent to US$447 and EOS has gained about 4.8 per cent to US$7.28.