Unemployment rate fell to 5.8% in February: ASX 0.3% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Melissa Darmawan

The Australian share market opened almost flat, roller coastering between falls and gains and is now tracking 0.3 per cent lower at noon. The S&P/ASX 200 index is 18 points at 6,777. The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 12 points as we head into afternoon trade. Despite the Dow and S&P 500 hitting record highs last night, the local market has been unable to follow the lead from US markets.

Local economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistic released data on Labour Force for February

Labour force participation rate remained unchanged at 66.1 per cent in February. In this period 88,700 jobs were added exceeding expectations of 30,000 jobs.

Unemployment rate fell from 6.4 per cent in January to 5.8 per cent in February which is below market consensus of 6.3 per cent. This is the lowest jobless rate since March 2020 as the economy continues to recover from the impact of Covid-19.

Broker moves

Ord Minnett rates building supplies company Boral (ASX:BLD) as a lighten which is a downgrade from a hold. The broker believes there is a risk to the US business due to rising US mortgage rates which may temper demand for housing as the year progresses. Target price is $5.00. Shares in Boral (ASX:BLD) are trading 1.8 per cent lower at $5.50.

Company news

The Westpac Group (ASX:WBC) will sell Westpac Lenders Mortgage Insurance to Arch Capital Group. They will enter into a 10-year exclusive supply agreement for Arch to provide Lenders Mortgage Insurance to the Group. Westpac will record a loss on sale in FY21 from separation and transaction costs along with the $84 million write down in goodwill that was announced last month. Shares in the Westpac Group (ASX:WBC) are trading 0.5 per lower at $24.55.

IPO

Gold explorer Tulla Resources (ASX:TUL) started starting today. The company co-owns 50 per cent of the Central Norseman Gold Project in Western Australia with Pantoro (ASX:PNR). Shares were issued at $0.90 and started trading on the ASX at $0.69 and is currently trading at $0.60.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Materials adding 0.5 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Utilities shedding 1.3 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR) rising 7.7 per cent to $1.69 followed by shares in Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR) and Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS).

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is SkyCity Entertainment (ASX:SKC) dropping 3.7 per cent to $3.10 followed by shares in Spark New Zealand (ASX:SPK) and Cleanaway Waste Management (ASX:CWY).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,750 an ounce.
Iron ore price fell 0.03 per cent to US$168.21.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.9 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.25 US cents.  

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