Construction decline eases in August: ASX tracking 0.5% higher at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market opened higher and continued to rise at the open and is now tracking 0.5 per cent higher at noon. Cooper Energy (ASX:COE) shares shot up almost ten per cent after their announcement that the exploration well Annie-1 has made a new gas field discovery in the Otway Basin offshore Victoria. Rare earths producer, Northern Minerals (ASX:NTU) shares dropped. The Infotech sector is leading the way and the Real Estate Investment Trust sector trailing behind.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 31 points up at 6,644. On the futures market the SPI is 0.7 per cent higher.

Local economic news

The AiG released the performance of construction results for August showing the Index registered 44.6 points (seasonally adjusted). This was an increase of 5.5 points from July, indicating an easing in the construction industry’s overall rate of decline. It also signaled the industry’s slowest rate of contraction in five months.

Company news

Kalium Lakes (ASX:KLL) Beyondie Sulphate of Potash Project has been granted Major Project Status by the Australian Federal Government. This status is the Australian Government's formal recognition of the national strategic significance of a project, through its contribution to economic growth, employment, or contribution to regional Australia. In addition, Major Project Status provides coordination and facilitation support, as well as a single entry point to a coordinated approvals process. Shares in Kalium Lakes (ASX:KLL) are 4 per cent higher at $0.52.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Infotech adding 2.6 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trust, shedding 1.7 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Cooper Energy (ASX:COE), rising 5.1 per cent to $0.61, followed by shares in Lynas Corp (ASX:LYC) and Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Pro Medicus (ASX:PME), dropping 9.3 per cent to $34.43, followed by shares in Saracen Minerals (ASX:SAR) and Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST).

Asian markets

Higher Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.6 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has gained 0.8 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 0.2 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,518 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 1.2 per cent to US$90.18
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.8 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.10 US cents.