The Australian share market started the trading week lower after US equities closed lower on Friday and over the US trading week with the Nasdaq losing 3.9 per cent, the S&P500 shedding 3.1, their biggest weekly falls this year. While the Dow 30 didn’t fall as much, 2.6 per cent, notching its second-worst week of the year.
Last week the benchmark ASX200 slipped 0.1 per cent. At the minute, The S&P/ASX 200 index is 29 points down or 0.4 per cent lower at 6,740. Putting it into perspective we are now back where the index traded three weeks ago, at 11.5 year highs. On the futures market the SPI is 0.6 per cent.
Local economic news
The services sector saw its largest monthly fall since July 2018 as trading conditions took a dive following two months of positive results. The Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Services Index (Australian PSI) fell by 8.3 points to 43.9 in July.
Last Thursday (1 August 2019) we learnt the manufacturing sector bounced back into expansion territory, after falling into a contraction in June (that was its first contraction in almost three years). In July the Australian Industry Group Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (Australian PMI) rose 1.9 points to 51.3 in July. And as a reminder, readings below 50 points indicate contraction in activity, above 50 reflect growth in the sector.
Oil Search’ (ASX:OSH) MD Peter Botten has issued a statement saying its pleased the local government (PNG Cabinet (National Executive Council)) has agreed, in principle, to stand behind the Papua LNG Gas Agreement, which was inked by the PNG Government and the PRL 15 Joint Venture in April 2019. Joint owners of the LNG Project are ExxonMobile and Oil Search. OSH today confirmed its commitment to supporting the operator and the Government, in working through final questions on the agreement, so it can be finalised. This plan is to support PNG citizens and local businesses in the Papua LNG Project and have first production in 2024. Shares in Oil Search (ASX:OSH) are trading 3.8 per cent higher at $7.21 at noon.
Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) received some good news from the corporate watch dog with the ACCC declaring it won’t oppose the acquisition of online retailer Catch Group. The ACCC says their two businesses are not close competitors. We know Catch, offers ‘out-of-season’ ‘clearance’ or ‘overrun branded products’, on its website and app. Differing from Kmart and Target. Shares in Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) are trading 1.4 per cent higher at $39.40 at noon.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is S&P/ASX Energy, adding 0.5 per cent, while the worst performing sector is S&P/ASX Info Tech, shedding 1.7 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Ardent Leisure Group Limited (ASX:ALG), rising 4.7 per cent to $1.23, followed by shares in Oil Search Limited (ASX:OSH) and Resolute Mining Limited (ASX:RSG).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Lynas Corporation Limited (ASX:LYC),dropping 4.3 per cent to $2.58, followed by shares in Bega Cheese Limited (ASX:BGA) and Wisetech Global Limited (ASX:WTC).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,443 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 6.9 per cent to US$107.73
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 2.2 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 67.80 US cents.