Banks hit brakes on broader rally: Aus shares flat at noon

Market Reports

by Michael Luu

The Australian sharemarket charged ahead at the open to surpass its previous record high, reaching the 7334 mark in morning trade. Materials, Infotech and Health Care did most of the heavy lifting, while Consumer Staples sagged.

Strengthening commodity prices fired up mining heavyweights, as BHP (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) were tracking 1 per cent and 0.2 per cent higher by lunchtime . Gains in CSL, Redmed and Sonic Healthcare led the healthcare rally.

The broad-based advance decelerated and suffered setbacks from Financials, as the major banks clawed back early gains. ANZ (ASX:ANZ) was the only stock in the buy zone, out of the big four banks by lunchtime.

Supermarkets underwhelmed in the session and dragged down the consumer staples sector, as Woolworths and Coles both sustained losses of over 1.2 per cent by midday.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.03 per cent or 2.10 points higher at 7294.70.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 1 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information Technology, up 0.58 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Consumer Staples, down 0.89 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Brickworks (ASX:BKW), trading 8.47 per cent higher at $22.80. It is followed by shares in Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (ASX:URW) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Ansell (ASX:ANN), trading 3.58 per cent lower at $38.53. It is followed by shares in Altium (ASX:ALU) and Appen (ASX:APX).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1893.05 an ounce.
Iron ore is 3.50 per cent higher at US$209.50 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 3.18 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 77.40 US cents.