The Australian stock market shot up at the open, losing momentum as selling started to mount in Industrials, the smaller Tech sector, and Financials as investors absorbed Australia’s inflationary data. Coupled with that, overnight, investors received mixed leads from Wall Street with the Dow gaining slightly, while the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq sank ahead of Apple’s earnings results. However, just an hour ago Apple announced its results, which barely beat expectations after its sales dropped 15 per cent compared to last year. And in after-hours trade, its shares have lifted.
As for our leading sectors, Materials are continuing to muster up strength with the iron ore price gaining momentum. Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) are also seeing a strong rally, with the iron ore producers’ shares trading 7 per cent higher at noon.
Yesterday’s IPO, Splitit Payments (ASX:SPT) is seeing its shares continue to rise with it gaining 25 per cent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.1 per cent or 8 points higher at 5,882. On the futures market the SPI is 10 points higher.
Local economic news
The consumer price index (CPI), Australia’s main inflationary measure, rose more than expected in the December quarter, rising 0.5 per cent, according to the ABS, more than the rise of 0.4 per cent expected, and recorded in the September quarter.
The most significant rises in the December quarter came from a rise in the price of tobacco (9.4 per cent), followed by domestic holiday travel and accommodation (which rose 6.2 per cent), followed by fruit (5.0 per cent).
Over the year, CPI gained 1.8 per cent, less than the prior yearly reading of 1.9 per cent.
Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR) announced a strong December quarter and says its eyeing results at the upper end of its FY2019 copper and gold guidance levels. It also announced it lowered its costs in the quarter. Welcome news for shareholders, which sent its shares 5.8 per cent higher at $7.30 at noon, pushing it to one of today’s top performing posts.
CIMIC’s (ASX:CIM) company UGL, as part of a joint venture, gained an extension on a Sydney Trains contract for maintenance and logistics services, which will generate revenue of about $277 million to UGL. The two-year extension, effective from July 2019, involves providing heavy maintenance and supply chain services to more than 1,000 Sydney passenger rail trains. CIMIC’s (ASX:CIM) shares are trading 0.2 per cent higher at $45.22 at noon.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is S&P/ASX Materials adding 1.8 per cent, while the worst performing sector is S&P/ASX Financials, shedding 0.5 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX:FMG), rising 7 per cent to $5.38, followed by shares in Sandfire Resources Nl (ASX:SFR) and Northern Star Resources Ltd (ASX:NST).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Syrah Resources Limited (ASX:SYR), dropping 14.7 per cent to $1.71, followed by shares in G.U.D. Holdings Limited (ASX:GUD) and Credit Corp Group Limited (ASX:CCP).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,311 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 0.7 per cent to US$78.69
One Australian dollar is buying 71.79 US cents.