Macquaire CEO/MD shift and Nine takeover weighs: Aus shares 0.1% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The ASX sank at the open after Facebook shares plunged over 20 per cent on a revenue miss, and a dip in daily users. While locally we saw Macquarie (ASX:MGQ) slip over 2 per cent on CEO and MD changes, and Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC) shares stumble over 8 per cent on taking over Fairfax (ASX:FXJ) (for the full story check out our company news section on our website).

After noon struck though, the ASX started to claw back its early losses, digesting that a EU and US trade war could have been averted. Half of the sectors are the red with financials down the most and energy pushing higher after the oil jumped back to the US$69 level. Miners are following and making gains with Newcrest (ASX:NCM) leading (up about 5 per cent) on the back of better than expected production (copper), coupled with the fact that gold gained on a weaker US dollar amid US-EU trade talks. 

The iron ore price gained 0.7 per cent to US$66.03. While the iron ore futures suggesting a dip of 0.2 per cent, but over the week the price is pushing higher.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.1 per cent or 6 points down at 6,241. On the futures market the SPI is 10 points lower.

Company news

The National Australia Banks’ (ASX:NAB) wealth arm, MLC will switch off planer service fees in September and refund members in its MLC MasterKey Personal Super fund, while they are in the product. MLC says it’s refunding the fees as it didn’t clearly tell members that the fee could be turned off, if they no longer wanted access to general advice. About 305,000 members will get a refund, equating to over $67 million (as the average member will receive $220, plus interest). NAB says the impact was partly provided for in its 2018 half year results, and the remainder will be provided for in the second half of NAB’s financial year. NAB says, it will not impact material earnings. MLC will also switch off Plan Service fees on its MasterKey Business Super on 30 November and after this MLC products will no longer have planner services fees. Shares in NAB (ASX:NAB) are trading 0.5 per cent lower at $28.00 at noon. 

Wattle Health (ASX:WHA) is in the news again, after it advised its JV has purchased land to build Australia’s first dedicated organic nutritional milk spray dryer. And Wattle health will be able to provide the market with an ongoing supply of Australian organic nutritional milk powder. It comes as the JV, with Corio Bay Dairy Group (which is between Organic Dairy Farmers Australia (ODFA), Niche Dairy and Wattle Health) snapped up neighbouring land to the existing Organic Dairy Farmers Australia facilities, to leverage off infrastructure and staff resources. Just yesterday, Wattle received Chinese approval for its pure Australian grass fed milk powder (1 kilo bag) to be sold in China. Yesterday its shares gained 8.13 per cent, now it’s trading 4.4 per cent higher at $1.18 at noon. 

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Energy adding 0.6 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Financials, shedding 0.4 per cent

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Fairfax Media (ASX:FXJ), rising 11.4 per cent to $0.86, followed by shares in Domain Holdings Australia (ASX:DHG) and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Nine Entertainment Holdings (ASX:NEC), dropping 8.1 per cent to $2.31, followed by shares in Bluescope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL) and Appen Limited (ASX:APX).

Asian markets

Lower at noon: Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.07 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.04 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.14 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,233 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 74.47 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading lower Bitcoin has fallen 1.4 per cent to US$8,190, Ethereum has shed about 0.2 per cent to US$475 and EOS has lost the most, about 1.7 per cent to US$8.57.