The Australian stock market has extended its losses, trading lower for the second day. We had mostly negative leads from the outset after the S&P500 and the Dow slipped on trade war worries. While Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) reported their results after the market close. Rio reported its half-year underlying earnings rose by 12 per cent, to US$4.4 billion for the six months ending 30 June 2018, less than the UBS forecast. As a result, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) shares are leading the decliners today and trading 3.58 per cent lower to $78.73 per cent.
Iron ore price fell 2.4 per cent to US$66.55 overnight, but it’s trading near month on month highs. Its futures are pointing to a 1.5 per cent fall.
Most of the sectors are trading lower at noon with miners seeing the most drag. Only three sectors are seeing green tracks, staples, industrials and financials.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 15 points lower (0.24 per cent down) to 6,261 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is 22 points lower.
Australia’s trade surplus soared $1.873 billion in June, far surpassing expectations with some economists forecasting a surplus of $900,000. It follows on the $725,000 surplus in May 2018, and $594,000 surplus balance on goods and services in April (in seasonally adjusted terms). It comes as exports (credits) to Australia jumped 3 per cent.
Oil Search (ASX:OSH) advised one of its PNG wells successfully found gas at depths in line with pre drill expectations. Both the 'Barikewa 3' reservoirs are well developed with one of them, the Toro reservoir being better than expected in quality and thickness. Its shares are trading 0.33 per cent lower to $9.00 at oon, but over the year it’s trading higher after it rose from $6.62, this time last year.
Brisbane Broncos (ASX:BBL) announced its net profit before tax for the six months to 30 June is tipped to be less than the same time last year. It’s tipping its profit before tax to be $3.015 million, compared to 2017’s same time half of $3.43 million. Shares in Brisbane Broncos (ASX:BBL) are trading flat at $0.50 at noon.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Consumer Staples rising, 0.24 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Materials, falling 1.3 per cent
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is ALS (ASX:ALQ), rising 4.64 per cent higher to $8.69, followed by shares in Webjet (ASX:WEB) and Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia (ASX:GMA).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), dropping 3.58 per cent to $78.73, followed by shares in Western Areas Limited (ASX:WSA) and Aveo Group (ASX:AOG).
Lower at noon: Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.96 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has lost 0.96 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,220 an ounce.
One Australian dollar is buying 74.01 US cents.
Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading mixed. Bitcoin has gained 1 per cent to US$7,703, Ethereum has lost 0.1 per cent to US$424 and EOS has gained about 1.4 per cent to US$7.30.