The ASX peaked in the first hour of opening before trading lower at noon and continuing to slip closing 0.04 per cent lower at the end of trade, following the RBA's report on wages, housing and construction. In today's Statement on Monetary Policy, the central bank said that wage growth was no longer expected to pick up and is concerned that the drop in house building could negatively impact the economy as dwelling investment has declined significantly in recent quarters and indications from building approvals are that it's expected to continue to decline over the coming year.
Despite the recent rise in house prices and auction clearance rates compared to earlier in the year, the RBA added it's uncertain how quickly the turnaround in the established market will flow through to new housing construction.
The S&P/ASX200 index
At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 3 points lower to finish at 6,724.
Dow futures are down 61 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a fall of 9 points.
The Nasdaq futures are also down 32 points.
The ASX200 futures are looking a 5 point fall Monday morning.
UBS has rated James Hardie (ASX:JHX) as a buy. The company has delivered a second consecutive result that was better than UBS expected. UBS is impressed by the company's 20% share of new US siding sales, although suspects taking additional market share over the long-term will become more expensive and challenging.
Shares in James Hardie (ASX:JHX) are trading 3.9 per cent higher at $27.66.
Stockland (ASX:SGP) today confirmed it's entered into agreements to acquire two office buildings in North Sydney for a combined price of $121 million, adjacent to its existing office building at Walker Street. The acquisitions of numbers 118 & 122 Walker Street will more than double Stockland’s existing landholding on the street, creating an amalgamated landholding of almost 2,300 square metres within the prime North Sydney CBD. The acquisition of 118 Walker Street was completed today and the acquisition of 122 Walker Street is expected to be complete in July 2020.
Shares in Stockland (ASX:SGP) closed 0.6 per cent lower at $4.87.
Looking at some more headlines:
Aveo Group (ASX:AOG) will be removed from the S&P/ASX 200 subject to final court approval of the scheme of arrangement whereby the company will be acquired by Brookfield Asset Management and will be replaced by Avita Medical (ASX:AVH).
Neptune Marine Services (ASX:NMS) has sold its key operating subsidiaries to vessel provider MMA Offshore (ASX:MRM).
Virgin Australia (ASX:VAH) has been authorised to cooperate with Virgin Atlantic after the ACCC issued a determination for the two separate businesses to work more closely together on connecting overseas flights. Virgin Australia believes the cooperation will increase its passenger numbers, making its Hong Kong service more sustainable.
Online real estate classifieds company the REA Group (ASX:REA) has reported a 14 per cent drop in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to $114.9 million for the first quarter ending September. 30th.
Primewest (ASX:PWG) started trading today. The national property fund manager floated with an issue price of $1.00, opening at $1.11 and closing at $1.18.
Best and worst performers of the day
The best performing sector was Infotech adding 1.96 per cent while the worst performing sector was A-REIT, shedding 1.6 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY), rising 8.4 per cent to close at $1.09. Shares in Speedcast International (ASX:SDA) and Orocobre (ASX:ORE) followed higher.
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Saracen Mineral Holdings (ASX:SAR),dropping 8.3 per cent to close at $3.41. Shares in Regis Resources (ASX:RRL) and Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) followed lower.
Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.1per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has lost 0.6 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has added 0.2 per cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,469 an ounce.
Iron ore price is lower at US$83.17.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 1.8 per cent.
Light crude is 8 cents down at US$57.07 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.81 US cents.