ASX erases 4 days of gains: Aus shares 1.6% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Jessica Amir

The Australian share market dropped like a stone at the open, as expected following  Wall Street’s sell-off with US tech stocks being hit the hardest and our tech sector following.

It comes as Apple shares fell 5 per cent after the company that makes iPhone's face-recognition, cut its outlook which saw Lumentum shares fall 33 per cent. On top of that, the US dollar hit a 16-month high, US economic worries linger and the US major indices lost 2 per cent or more with the Nasdaq losing 2.8 per cent.

Most of our sectors are underwater today with Healthcare and Financials stocks following tech stocks over 2 per cent lower. While just the Utilities and the Property sectors trade higher.

Broker moves

QBE (ASX:QBE) has been upgraded to buy by Citi, with a 12-month price target of $12.80. Citi says QBE is on track for guidance and has a 'few more simplification boxes ticked'. It cited a lift in FY18 earnings per share. Its share price has been on a rise for the past 6-months. Citi also says it has a larger loss allowance for FY19 but headwinds may be temporary. It's trading 0.2 per cent higher at noon. 

The S&P/ASX 200 index 

1.6 per cent or 97 points lower at 5,844 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is 76 points lower.

Local economic news

Business confidence fell from its previous level, disappointing the market and economist.

While, personal finance commitments fell 0.3 per cent, while housing finance for homes fell 1.2 per cent and commercial finance rose 1.9 per cent from August to September, according to the ABS. 

Company news

Citi issued an alert to the market saying NEXTDC’s (ASX:NXT) contracted commitments are the rise with its Sydney 2 project already approaching 50 per cent contracted commitments, and that’s even before opening. It comes as the data centre operator, NEXTDC inked a deal with Superloop (ASX:SLC) to provide connectivity to the new INDIGO subsea cable system for both the NEXTDC data centres in Perth (P1 and P2) and Sydney (S1 and S2). NEXTDC is also holding is 8th AGM today. Shares in NEXTDC (ASX:NXT) are trading 3.9 per cent lower at $6.25 at noon.

AusCann (ASX:AC8) has appointed TGA licenced, PCI Pharma, to manufacture its first medicinal cannabis product line, its solid hard-shell capsules for the treatment of chronic pain. The products are scheduled for release in the first half of 2019. Shares in AusCann (ASX:AC8) last traded at $0.82 at noon.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Utilities adding 0.8 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Health Care, shedding 2.4 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is AGL Energy (ASX: GL), rising 1.5 per cent to $18.47, followed by shares in Stockland (ASX:SGP) and Ausnet Services Limited (ASX:AST).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Elders Limited (ASX:ELD), dropping 11.4 per cent to $7.86, followed by shares in Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at $1,203 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell down 1.5 per cent US$76.05 and its futures are pointing to a fall of 0.2 per cent.
Oil also fell 2 per cent to under the US$59
One Australian dollar is buying 71.73 US cents.

Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin has shed 0.5 per cent to US$6,384, Ethereum has lost 0.9 per cent to US$210 and Bitcoin Cash has lost 3.3 per cent to US$513, in the last 24 hours.
 

Jessica Amir

Finance News Network
Jessica joined FNN in January 2017 with a passion for equities and funds management. As Head of News, she has been a broadcast journalist for over seven years, specialising in finance. She has been a journalist with Sky News Business, ABC 1, ABC's The Business and ABC24. She’s also worked as a TV reporter for regional Channel 7 and 9. She also previously worked as a financial planner and real estate agent.