The ASX dropped from the open and is now 0.4 per cent lower at noon. Eclipx (ASX:ECX) shares are up over 20 per cent after some harsh declines over the last week. A market report has been released today, more on this later. Alumina shares have taken a dip after the company released a presentation delivered at the Fastmarkets MB 25th Bauxite & Alumina Conference held in Miami yesterday reporting China’s smelters near break-even with lower demand/prices, and higher cost. Although they do note that Chinese reforms are likely to ensure broad alumina self-sufficiency.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 24 points down at 6,106. On the futures market the SPI is 17 points lower.
Local economic news
The trend estimate for the value of total engineering construction work done fell 3.6 per cent in the December 2018 quarter. The seasonally adjusted estimate for the value of total engineering construction work done fell 4.1 per cent in the same period.
Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX) has announced a $20 million cost reduction program. The vehicle fleet leasing company will bring in the reductions over the next 18 months. A Transformation Office, with a reporting line to the Board of Directors, will implement the cost reduction program. This office will also oversee any restructuring of the Group including the sale of Right2Drive and Grays. The proceeds from these sales will go to reducing their debt. Last week Eclipx shares fell after their management and McMillan Shakespeare (ASX:MMS) announced a merger between them both was “unlikely”. Shares in Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX) up 18.42 per cent to $0.68.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Industrials, down the least 0.03 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Utlities, shedding 1.3 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Eclipx Group (ASX:ECX), rising 18.4 per cent to $0.68, followed by shares in Beach Energy (ASX:BPT) and Mayne Pharma Group (ASX:MYX).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Tassel Group (ASX:TGR), dropping 6.8 per cent to $4.63, followed by shares in Alumina (ASX:AWC) and St Barbara (ASX:SBM).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,317 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 0.7 per cent to US$85.23
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.4 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.13 US cents.