The Australian share market advanced at the open and is now tracking 0.22 per cent higher at noon. Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) shares took a dip today after being one of the best performers so far this year – they are on the ex-dividend list today causing the fall. Global satellite communications provider Speedcast (ASX:SDA) also saw their shares fall lower. Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA) is up just over 3 per cent, Super Retail Group (ASX:SUL). Real Estate Investment Trusts was the sector leading the pack today with Materials coming in last. The S&P/ASX 200 index is 14 points up at 6259. On the futures market the SPI is 18 points higher.
Local economic news
The AiG released the Performance of Construction Index score of 43.8.That's up from 43.1 in January, below the line of 50 that separates expansion from contraction.
The Australian Bureau of statistics released the figures for international trade in goods and services showing a surplus of $3.7 billion in January 2019, an increase of $400 million on the surplus in December 2018. In seasonally adjusted terms, the balance on goods and services was a surplus of $4.5 billion in January 2019, an increase of $780 million on the surplus in December 2018.
Australian retail turnover rose 0.1 per cent in January 2019, seasonally adjusted. This falls short of consensus forecasts for a 0.3 per cent rise. December saw a 0.4 per cent fall in December 2018.
CIMIC’s (ASX:CIM) mining service provider, Thiess, has inked a $172 million contract extension, to increase coal production, overburden removal and continue to provide mining services in Melak in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. The 12-month contract extension with Bayan Resource also involves drilling, blasting and coal loading to the barge facility, taking the Melak contract through to 2023. Shares CIMIC(ASX:CIM) are trading 1.3 per cent higher at $50.95 at noon.
Infant formula business, Wattle Health (ASX:WHA) have appointed experienced dairy leader Tony McKenna as CEO of Corio Bay Dairy Group. CBDG aims to be Australia’s first dedicated organic nutritional powder manufacturer through the first domestic organic nutritional spray dryer. They are a joint venture between the largest and only organic farmers co-op, Organic Dairy Farmers of Australia, Wattle Health Australia and Niche Dairy. Wattle health (ASX:WHA) will have a 45 per cent interest in CBDG. Shares Wattle Health (ASX:WHA) are trading 1.1 per cent higher at $0.89 at noon.
Mining Exploration company, Canterbury Resources Limited (ASX:CBY) started trading today. It issued shares at $0.30, floated at $0.27 and is trading at $0.25.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trusts, adding 0.9 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Materials, shedding 0.3 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Bega Cheese (ASX:BGA), rising 3.3 per cent to $4.67, followed by shares in Super Retail Group (ASX:SUL) and Costa Group Holdings (ASX:CGC).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), dropping 4.72 per cent to $92.09, followed by shares in Speedcast International (ASX:SDA) and IOOF Holdings (ASX:IFL).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,288 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 0.8 per cent to US$87.03
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.9per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 70.33 US cents