Australian shares opened lower this morning following weak leads from Wall Street. The ASX now tracking 0.7 per cent lower at noon. The major miners, banks and telco stocks are all losing ground. Miners have been affected by an overnight base metal retreat. While, shares in BHP are down over 1.6 per cent after the miner announced it will buy a stake in a copper-gold producer in Equador. The energy sector is leading the way in the first two hours of trade. Meantime, Shares in Sims Metal Management (ASX:SGM) are down over 4 per cent after Citi marked the stock as neutral.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 47 points down at 6247. On the futures market the SPI is 20 points lower.
Local economic news
GDP figures just out show the Australian economy grew by 0.9 per cent in the June quarter according to the ABS. The result is above market expectations of 0.7 per cent in the quarter. The economy grew 3.4 per cent in through the year terms beating expectations of 2.8 per cent growth. It’s the fastest annual growth rate since the third quarter of 2012. The Aussie dollar has lifted above 72 cents on the back of the better than expected figures.
Biotech company, Opthea (ASX:OPT) has received a positive interim review from the independent Safety Committee in relation to its stage 2b clinical trial. The safety monitoring board has unanimously recommended that the trial continue without modification.. The company says patient enrolment in the Phase 2b clinincal trial is ongoing in the US, Europe and Israel. OPthea is working to develop biologic therapies to treat back-of-the-eye diseases The company remains on-track to report primary data from the study in early 2020.Shares in Opthea (ASX:OPT) are trading flat at 63 cents
Meantime, AVZ Minerals (ASX:AVZ) has provided an update on its mineral resource drilling at the Manono project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Recent assays from the 7 newly cored drill holes have intersected broad intervals of mineralisation of up to 336.81m.Separately the company has announced the resignation of Matthew O'Hara as Company Secretary with Leonard Math to takeover the role, effective immediately. Shares in AVZ Minerals (ASX:AVZ) are trading 4.8 per cent lower at 10 cents.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is energy adding 0.1 per cent while the worst performing sector is telcos, shedding 1.4 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Sigma Healthcare (ASX:SIG) rising 8.7 per cent to $0.63, followed by shares in Reliance Worldwide Corporation (ASX:RWC) and Wisetech Globall (ASX:WTC).
Sims Metal Management (ASX:SGM), is one of the worst performers dropping 4.6 per cent to $12.58, followed by shares in Next DC (ASX:NXT) and St Barbera (ASX:SBM).
Japan’s Nikkei has dropped 0.2 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng hashed 1 per cent and the Shanghai Composite haslost 0.4 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,194 an ounce
Iron ore futures are 0.6 per cent higher
One Australian dollar is buying 72.07 US cents.
Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading /mixed. Bitcoin has /gained 1.5 per cent per cent to US$$7388, Ethereum lost about 1.1 per cent to US$287 and Eos gained about 0.7 per cent to US$6.52.