Monadelphous Group's (ASX:MND) Mondium secures $400 million Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) contract: Aus shares 0.5% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Ortenzia Borre

The Australian share plunged at the open and is now tracking 0.5 per cent lower at noon. Pilbara Minerals is on top and Virgin Money UK is leading the losses. This morning all sectors are in the red. The sector with the fewest losses is REITs with Energy coming in last.

Broker moves

Citi has rated Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) as a Buy. The broker says that December quarter production was weak because of reconciliation issues at Mount Carlton and is expected to mean FY20 guidance will be at the lower end of the range. Given the share prices has fallen -33% since the September 2019 high, and with one of the lowest all-in sustaining cost bases, Citi maintains a Buy rating and $4.40 target and is awaiting the news flow expected from exploration at Cowal. Shares in Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) are trading 1.4 per cent higher at $3.63.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 33 points down at 6,896. On the futures market the SPI is 38 points lower.

Local Economic News

Today we are expecting the Reserve Bank of Australia to release the credit and debit card lending figures for November, and the Melbourne Institute will release its inflation gauge for December.

Company news

Monadelphous Group (ASX:MND) joint venture Mondium has secured a $400 million contract with mining giant Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) for the design and construction of the Western Turner Syncline Phase 2 (WTS2) mine, located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The company will carry out all engineering and design, procurement and site construction works associated with the WTS2 development, including the process plant, overland conveyor and nonprocess infrastructure. Monadelphous Managing Director, Rob Velletri, said being chosen to partner with Rio Tinto to deliver these important mine expansion works was a great achievement for Mondium. The work will commence in the first quarter of 2020 and is expected to be competed in 2021. Mondium will work closely with Rio Tinto to provide local employment and business opportunities in the region. Shares in Monadelphous (ASX:MND) are trading 0.2 per cent lower at $17.16 at noon.

The a2 Milk Company (ASX:A2M) Chief Technical Officer Phil Rybinski will depart the company to pursue other interests. The announcement comes after Chief Financial Officer, Race Strauss, commenced his role today. Chief Operations Officer, Shareef Khan, will assume responsibility for all technical function activities on an interim basis until more permanent leadership arrangements are made. Shares in The a2 Milk Company (ASX:A2M) are trading 0.8 per cent lower at $14.25.

Best and worst performers

The sector with the fewest losses is REITs losing 0.1 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Energy shedding 1.1 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) rising 4.4 per cent to 35 cents, followed by shares in Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV) and Metcash (ASX:MTS).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK), dropping 3.7 per cent to $3.38, followed by shares in Cooper Energy (ASX:COE) and Steadfast Group (ASX:SDF)

Commodities and the dollar 

Gold is trading at US$1,557 an ounce. 
Iron ore price is 0.5 per cent lower at US$93.92
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.5 per cent. 
One Australian dollar is buying 69.05US cents.