Consumer sentiment falls 3.8% in March: ASX tracking 1.3% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Rachael Jones

The Australian share market shot up at the open and then fell in mid morning trade and failed to gain momentum and is now tracking 1.3 per cent lower at noon. Shares in ship building company Austal (ASX:ASB) are on the rise as are shares in Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG). Shares are down in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM).

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 77 points down at 5,863. On the futures market the SPI is 112 point lower.

Local economic news

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment fell 3.8 per cent to 91.9 in March from 95.5 in February. This is the lowest point in five years.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics report ome loan value has risen 4.6% in January
Meanwhile, the trend estimate for total dwellings approved rose 0.5% in January.

Broker moves

Credit Suisse has upgraded Coca-Cola Amatil (ASX:CCL) to a Neutral from an Underperform.They believe the company is underpinned by solid revenue, albeit growth is more modest than a decade ago.The branded non-alcoholic beverage category has also been growing in the last six months despite the higher prices caused by container deposit schemes. Target price is $11.40. Shares in Coca-Cola Amatil (ASX:CCL) are 0.2 per cent higher at $10.93.

Company news

Panoramic Resources (ASX:PAN) released a statement this morning referring to the press article “Forrest has a Panoramic view of Nickel Sector” in this morning’s Australian. Panoramic confirms that, as previously disclosed, it remains in discussions with third parties regarding a range of corporate and funding options and its dataroom remains open. There is no guarantee this will lead to any transaction. If there are material developments in the future, Panoramic will inform shareholders as required under its continuous disclosure obligations. Shares in Panoramic Resources (ASX:PAN) are flat at noon at $0.20.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy adding 1.7 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Consumer Staples shedding 2.5 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Austal (ASX:ASB) rising 4.2 per cent to $3.22, followed by shares in Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG).
And Santos (ASX:STO).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is NRW Holdings (ASX:NWH) dropping 8.4 per cent to $1.80, followed by shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,656 an ounce.
Iron ore price is 4.7 per cent up at US$92.09.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.2 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 65.01US cents.