Volumes down due to Labour Day: ASX 0.6% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market dropped at the open and is now tracking 38 points or 0.6 per cent lower to 6170 at noon. NSW, the ACT and South Australia are celebrating Labour Day while Queensland is celebrating the Queen's Birthday so thousands of traders are away from their desks today meaning volumes are low today. Westpac is seeing the biggest decline of the big four banks today. Afterpay Touch Group (ASX:APT) and TPG Telecom (ASX:TPM) are also performing poorly today. Only the heathcare index is in green this morning, with financials the worst performing index today. The SPI is 36 points lower

Local economic news

CoreLogic has released the Home Value index 0.5 per cent drop in house prices in September marking 12 months of consistently falling prices. Sydney house prices are down 6.1 per cent year on year and Melbourne down 3.4 per cent.

On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank Board meets but no change in rates is expected for the 26th straight month. On Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases data on dwelling approvals. On Thursday the ABS releases the August international trade data. And finally on Friday we can expect the August data on retail trade or sales and the AiGroup Performance of Construction index.

Company news

Contact Energy (ASX:CEN) has completed the sale of the Ahuroa Gas Storage facility and associated assets to Gas Services New Zealand, an associate of First Gas Limited. The Ahuroa Gas Storage Facility will operate as Flex Gas. One of the conditions precedent of the transaction was Gas Services NZ obtaining an IRD binding ruling as to the tax treatment of the main assets it acquired. The parties have agreed to complete the transaction despite the condition remaining unsatisfied. While the terms of the agreements are substantially unchanged, $10 million of the total consideration of $200 million remains contingent on obtaining a future favourable binding ruling in line with the historic treatment.

Shares in Contact Energy (ASX:CEN) last traded at $5.36

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is healthcare adding 0.7 per cent, while the worst performing sector is financials, shedding 1.3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Lynas Corp (ASX:LYC) rising 4.4 per cent to $1.67, followed by shares in Western Areas (ASX:WSA) and Xero (ASX:ARO).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Nufarm (ASX:NUF) dropping 8.5 per cent to $6.03, followed by shares in Afterpay Touch Group (ASX:APT) and TPG Telecom (ASX:TPM).

Asian markets

Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and the Shanghai Composite are closed today.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,189 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 0.8 per cent to US$69.24.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.23 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Some of the most traded cryptocurrencies are trading higherBitcoin has gained 0.7 per cent to US$6635, Ethereum gained about 0.9 per cent to US$234 and XRP has gained about 4.3 per cent to US$0.60