IT cancels out energy & mining gains: Aus shares steady at 6775

Market Reports

by Michael Luu

The ASX opened steady and zig-zagged throughout the morning. Mining and energy heavyweights have benefitted from rising commodity prices, while falls in IT, telcos and consumer discretionaries cancelled out these gains to keep the ASX200 flat at 6775 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is 0.1 per cent higher.

Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ) jumped 5.9 per cent after successfully raising capital to acquire ME Bank.

Local economic news

The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has revealed that the nation recorded a goods trade surplus of $8.8 billion for the start of the calendar year.
Export of goods fell 9 per cent in January due to the reduced quantity of iron ore exported. Meanwhile, import of goods declined by 10 per cent in January, as demand for automobiles decreased.

Company news

HR platform SEEK (ASX:SEK) has today verified negotiations are at an advanced stage to sell down its stake in Chinese online recruitment firm Zhaopin.

The transaction is estimated at $2.2 million and the company is expected to still hold a 23.5 per cent stake in their Beijing-based counterpart. Chairman Graham Goldsmith explains that the deal will free up capital and enable SEEK to redirect investment in the Asia-Pacific and America regions and release dividends.

Shares in SEEK (ASX:SEK) are trading 6.2 per cent lower at $28.47

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy, adding 3.96 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Info Tech, shedding 4.4 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Bank of Queensland (ASX:BOQ), rising 10.00 per cent to $8.99, followed by shares in Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) and AUB Group (ASX:AUB).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Austal (ASX:ASB), dropping 16.6 per cent to $2.06, followed by shares in Perenti Global (ASX:PRN) and Afterpay (ASX:APT).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,808 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 1.4 per cent to US$175.96
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.4 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 79.13 US cents.


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