The ASX is set to close off the week virtually flat. It comes as the the Australian share market is having a fairly volatile trading session today, opening higher on the back of the Chinese economy growing 6.4 per cent, ahead of expectations in the first quarter, which sent the Australian dollar to 72 cents earlier. Meantime, favourable economic data in China also led to copper prices hitting a 9-month high.
However, after the much-anticipated employment data came out, the local bourse sank into the red and is now starting to claw back.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose 0.1 per cent (according to the ABS), in line with forecasts and consensus it would rise to 5.0 per cent in March 2019. While the participation rate also rose slightly, 0.1 per cent, to 65.7 per cent. Meantime, the seasonally adjusted number of employed people rose by 26,000, beating CBA economists’ expectations and consensus.
The fresh data follows the unemployment rate falling to 4.9 per cent in February, a rate that hasn’t been seen in a decade.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.1 per cent or 8 points higher at 6,264. On the futures market the SPI is 5 points lower.
Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) announced its shipped concentrate fell 62 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, compared to the same time last year, from its Mt Cattlin spodumene project, (which is two kilometres north of Ravensthorpe in Western Australia). Shares in Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) are trading 10.8 per cent lower at $1.65 at noon.
Sydney Airport (ASX:SYD) has announced a 3.8 per cent and 3.4 per cent respective drop in international and domestic passengers in March 2019, compared to the prior corresponding period. International passenger numbers were impacted by a shift in the timing of both Easter and the Lunar New Year. Year-to date, the numbers are 1 per cent less than the same time last year. Shares in Sydney Airport (ASX:SYD) are trading 0.5 per cent lower at $7.38 at noon.
Next Science Limited (ASX:NXS) started trading today. The company is commercialising and developing a non-toxic technology with proven efficacy in treating biofilm-based tissue and device-caused infections, including sinusitis, chronic wounds, middle ear and implant and catheter related infections. It floated with an issue price of $1.00, opened at $1.40 and its trading at $1.29, after raising $35 million via the IPO.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is S&P/ASX 200 Energy adding 1.01 per cent, followed by S&P/ASX 200 Communication Services, S&P/ASX 200 Utilities, S&P/ASX 200 Materials and S&P/ASX 200 Financials. While the worst performing sector is S&P/ASX 200 Health Care shedding 1.6 per cent, followed by S&P/ASX 200 Info Tech, S&P/ASX 200 Industrials and S&P/ASX 200 A-REIT.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Seven West Media Limited (ASX:SWM), rising 5.1 per cent to $0.56, followed by shares in Syrah Resources Limited (ASX:SYR) and Whitehaven Coal Limited (ASX:WHC).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Galaxy Resources Limited (ASX:GXY), dropping 10.8 per cent to $1.65, followed by shares in Resmed (ASX:RMD) and Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Limited (ASX:API).
Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.06 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,272 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 1.6 per cent to US$93.23
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 1 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.75 US cents.