The Australian share market slumped at the open, snapping its winning streak after four days of straight gains.
Most of our sectors are trading lower with Energy leading the decline after the US crude price fell 2.5 per cent on the back of US-China trade disputes, with the crude price trading around US$52.64.
We had negative leads from the outset, with Wall Street closing lower, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq down the most, 1.2 per cent, while the S&P 500 lost 0.9 per cent and the Dow followed after US President Donald Trump advised he will not meet Chinese President Xi before the March trade deal deadline.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 20 points or 0.3 per cent lower at 6,072. On the futures market the SPI is 17 points lower.
Local economic news
The Statement of Monetary Policy was released from the RBA, with the central bank revising its inflation outlook lower, while it also noted dwelling investment will decline. The RBA also highlighted weaker housing construction and prices could have 'pervasive economic effects'. Meantime, the RBA expects the unemployment rate will move lower, leading to a pick up in wage growth.
REA Group (ASX:REA) announced its net profit after tax rose 20 per cent to $176.6 million for the first half of the 2019 financial year, despite the Australian property market cooling. Its revenue grew by 15 per cent (compared to the same time last year) on the back of a strong rise in its residential business, with its revenue hitting $469.2 million. Its earnings (EBITDA) rose by 19 per cent to $289.1 million. Shares in REA Group (ASX:REA) are trading 4.9 per cent lower at $74.14 at noon. Its shares are 1.23 per cent higher year to date (YTD).
Citi downgraded AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) from a buy to neutral, dropping its price target by 5 per cent from $23.79 to $22.48 after the international bank analysed its metrics, saying it could easily commit to the $9 million of new projects as ‘it appears to have an excess $3 billion of headroom in its balance sheet;. It comes after AGL yesterday announced its statutory net profit after tax for the six months to 31 December fell 53 per cent, to $290 million. While its underlying net profit after tax rose 10 per cent rise to $537 million, missing Citi's forecast of $567 million in NPAT for the period. AGL Energy (ASX:AGL) shares are trading 0.92 per cent higher at $21.30. Its shares are 3.2 per cent higher year-to-date (YTD).
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trusts adding 0.8 per cent, while the worst performing sector is S&P/ASX Energy, shedding 2.5 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Saracen Mineral Holdings Limited (ASX:SAR), rising 2.6 per cent to $3.18, followed by shares in News Corporation (ASX:NWS) and Resmed Inc (ASX:RMD).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Beach Energy (ASX:BPT), dropping 7.2 per cent to $1.68, followed by shares in Emeco Holdings (ASX:EHL) and Webjet Limited (ASX:WEB).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,310 an ounce.
Iron ore price last traded at US$85.53
One Australian dollar is buying 70.70 US cents.