Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) launches digital trading platform: ASX closed 0.7% lower

Market Reports

by Melissa Darmawan

It's been a negative day of trade for the local market. After opening almost flat, the market continued to slide, extending yesterday's drop to close 49 points down. After data was released showing a better than expected improvement in the unemployment rate, the index lifted by 0.4 per cent. However, it failed to hang onto these gains. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at record highs overnight after the US Federal Reserve pledged to keep interest rates close to zero to 2023. Despite this, the local market has been unable to follow the lead from the US. At the closing bell the S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.7 per cent lower to finish at 6,746.

Futures market 

Dow futures are suggesting a rise of 65 points.
S&P 500 futures are eyeing a lift of 3 points.
The Nasdaq futures are eyeing lift of 7 points.
The ASX200 futures are eyeing a 51 point fall tomorrow.

Economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistic released data on Labour Force.

In February, employment increase by 0.7 per cent with 88,700 jobs added to the economy. Full time roles rose by 89,100 with part time employment decreasing by 500 jobs.

Unemployment rate improved from 6.4 per cent in January to 5.8 per cent in February which is around the pre-pandemic level beating expectations. The participation rate remains unchanged at 66.1 per cent.

Company news

Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) announced an agreement with software technology company GLX Digital to launch a new digital trading and sales platform for the Pilgangoora Project. The platform is intended to assist in sales growth offering interested parties the ability to access current and future unallocated mineral called spodumene. Shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) closed 1.4 per cent higher at $1.09.

Australian shipbuilder and global defence contractor Austal (ASX:ASB) is set to deliver the ninth Guardian-class Patrol Boat to the Australian Department of Defence. The vessel was gifted by the Australian Government to the Papua New Guinea Defence Force at a certificate signing ceremony in Western Australia.

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) has completed the sale of the three office buildings in Paris in France. The company has now completed €800 million of its €4 billion European asset disposal program.

Engineering company Monadelphous Group (ASX:MND) has secured a new five-year crane services contract with Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX:FMG). The contract is valued at approximately $150 million in total.

CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) company CPB Contractors has been selected by the Queensland Government to deliver the Bruce Highway Upgrade. The construct-only contract will generate revenue of $289 million for CPB and is funded by the Australian and Queensland governments.

The Westpac Group (ASX:WBC) will sell Westpac Lenders Mortgage Insurance to Arch Capital Group.

IPOs

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, started trading at $0.69 and closed at $0.64.

Best and worst performers of the day

The best performing sector was Consumer Discretionary adding 0.1 per cent while the worst performing sector was Healthcare shedding 1.7 per cent.

The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Silver Lake Resources (ASX:SLR) adding almost 8 per cent to close at 1.69. Shares in Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS) and Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR) followed higher.

The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Spark New Zealand (ASX:SPK) dropping 3.5 per cent to close at $4.14. Shares in Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC) and NextDC (ASX:NXT) followed lower.

Asian markets

Higher: Japan’s Nikkei has added 0.9 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 1.4 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.5 per cent.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1,751 an ounce.
Iron ore price shed 0.03 per cent to US$168.2. Its futures are pointing to a rise of 2.1 per cent.
Light crude is US$0.32 lower at US$60.73 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 78.26 US cents.

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