Unemployment falls to 5.1%: ASX tracking 0.7% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market fell at the open and is now tracking 0.7 per cent lower at noon. CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) shares dropped today after they announced they will exit the Middle East expecting to take a one-off charge of $1.8 billion. Shares in Downer EDI (ASX:DOW) also dipped today as they reduced their NPATA guidance for the 2020 financial year to $300 million. Shares in Webjet (ASX:WEB) and Metcash (ASX:MTS) are on the up. The best performing sector is information technology – the only sector in the green and the worst performing sector is Industrials.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 53 points down at 7.080. On the futures market the SPI is 58 points lower.

Broker moves

Macquarie has downgraded rates Regis Resources (ASX:RRL) to an Underperform from a Neutral. Production was solid in the December quarter and beat Macquarie's forecasts. Timing on the decision for the development of McPhillamys looks to have been delayed and the broker reduces valuation for the project. Target price is $4.20. Shares in Regis Resources (ASX:RRL) are trading 5.4 per cent lower at $4.39.

Local economic news

Australia's trend unemployment rate decreased to 5.1 per cent in December 2019, according to the latest information released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

Company news

The directors of Encounter Resources (ASX:ENR) updated on recent drilling activities in the Tanami region of WA, held in joint venture with Newcrest (ASX:NCM). Initial results from first pass RC drilling at the Afghan and Mojave prospects identified bedrock gold mineralisation and geological controls at both prospects. Mojave results are particularly encouraging as the hinge zone of the interpreted antiform is untested along strike. Newcrest is sole funding exploration activities across a series of joint ventures with Encounter in the Tanami and West Arunta regions of WA. Shares in Newcrest (ASX:NCM) are trading 1.3 per cent lower at $31.79.


Happy Valley Nutrition (ASX:HVM) started trading today it issued at 20 cents opened at 19 cents and is currently trading at 16 cents. Happy Valley Nutrition (ASX:HVM) is the development of a vertically integrated nutritional grade milk processing plant in New Zealand.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information technology, adding 0.1 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Industrials 2 per cent lower.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is National Storage REIT (ASX:NSR) rising 6.3 per cent to $2.19, followed by shares in Webjet (ASX:WEB) and EML Payments (ASX:EML).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Downer EDI (ASX:DOW), dropping 21.1 per cent to $6.91, followed by shares in CIMIC (ASX:CIM) and Regis Resources (ASX:RRL).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,562 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 10.1 per cent lower at US$96.68.
Iron ore futures are flat.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.69US cents.