AUSTRAC crackdown hits stock market: Aus shares trading 0.1% lower at noon

Market Reports

by Michael Luu

The Australian sharemarket opened on a positive note but has since then taken a backflip below the 7300 mark into the red zone. Declines by the major banks reversed broad-based gains by Materials and Infotech.

National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) led the fall in bank stocks, as the bank’s anti-money laundering and counter terrorism compliance practices came under AUSTRAC’s scrutiny. The investigative effort has also taken its toll on a number of other stocks, as casino and entertainment giants The Star, SkyCity, and Crown Resorts were all tracking lower by lunchtime

The mining giants are the main force of defiance against the downward movement, as BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto( ASX:RIO) gained 1.4 and 1.8 per cent respectively by midday.

Economic news

ANZ has released data indicating improved conditions in the labour market, as the number of job opportunities rose by 7.9 per cent in May and extended its streak of gains to 12 consecutive months.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.12 per cent or 8.80 points lower at 7286.60.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 11 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information Technology, up 2.10 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Financials, down 1.06 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Altium (ASX:ALU), trading 33.41 per cent higher at $36.30. It is followed by shares in Nuix (ASX:NXL) and Appen (ASX:APX).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Skycity Entertainment Group (ASX:SKC), trading 4.41 per cent lower at $3.25. It is followed by shares in Corporate Travel Management (ASX:CTD) and Flight Centre Travel Group (ASX:FLT).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1887.44 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.7 per cent lower at US$207.35 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.72 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.32 US cents.