ASX worst fall in almost 4.5 years: Aus shares 2.8% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Ortenzia Borre

The Australian share market plunged at the open this morning, as the global selloff continues, and is now tracking 2.8 per cent lower at noon.

Only a handful of stocks in the benchmark are in the green as the it sees the worst fall in almost 4.5 years. Afterpay (ASX:APT), Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR)and Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR) are some of the stocks which have taken the biggest hits, down around the 10 per cent mark so far this session.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 185 points down at 6,473. On the futures market the SPI is 182 points lower.

Local economic news

Private sector credit for January

Broker moves

Citi has rated Freedom Foods Group (ASX:FNP) as a Buy. Citi analysts believe Freedom Foods' interim performance matched market consensus, but their own projections sat a lot lower and were beaten.
The analysts observe that company management is doing a great job navigating a difficult milk environment. Gross margins surprised to the upside. Core divisions performed a lot better than what Citi had penciled in.
The company announced increased capex, but the analysts state they are comfortable with it. China represents 15% of group sales, and management expects short term disruption. Citi looks at the H1 report and concludes there is a successful transformation happening. Target price $5.80. Shares in Freedom Foods Group (ASX:FNP) are trading 1.6 per cent higher at $4.38.

Company news

Horizon Oil (ASX:HZN) reported revenue fell 17 per cent to $52.7 million, a first-half loss after tax of $US62.8 million, compared to a profit of $20.1 million a year ago. The company has also terminated CEO Michael Sheridan's following his suspension earlier this month saying it is untenable for Mr Sheriden to continue in the role of CEO while the board is overseeing an investigation into matters relating to the company’s payment to acquire an interest in Petroleum Retention Licence 21 in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea in 2011. Shares in Horizon Oil (ASX:HZN) are trading 1.4 per cent higher at 7 cents.

Best and worst performers

The sector with the fewest losses is Health Care, shedding 1.5 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Materials shedding 3.96 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Jumbo Interactive (ASX:JIN) rising 0.9 per cent to $10.87, followed by shares in AP Eagers (ASX:APE) and South 32 (ASX:S32).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR), dropping 11.7 per cent to $1.58, followed by shares in Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR) and New Hope Corporation (ASX:NHC).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,646 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 2.7 per cent lower at US$85.72.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 3.2 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 65.70US cents.