ASX drops, Rio commits to $2.4bn: Aus shares tracking 0.5% lower

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian share market dropped into negative territory this morning, with Miners and Banks weighing on the index. At noon, the ASX is tracking 0.5 per cent or 37 points lower at 7,394. The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 35 points.

Mining stocks fell today after gains earlier this week. BHP (ASX:BHP) dropped 1.5 per cent to $52.57, Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) is down 0.9 per cent at $25.58 and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) is tracking 1.1 per cent lower at $131.2, following a commitment to spend $2.4 on the Jadar lithium project.

Major banks are down with the Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) leading the slope 1 per cent lower. Westpac (ASX:WBC) is down 0.4 per cent, ANZ (ASX:ANZ) is down 0.5 per cent and NAB (ASX:NAB) is down 0.2 per cent. 

Energy suppliers are on being watched today after a mixed night for oil prices. Woodside Petroleum (ASC:WPL) and Santos (ASX:STO) are down 1.4 per cent, while Oil Search (ASX:OSH) is up 0.3 per cent to $3.94.

The worst-performing sector is Information Technology, down 1.4 per cent. Buy now, pay later provider Afterpay (ASX:APT) is down 2.7 per cent.

On a positive note, the best-performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trusts.

The best-performing stock is Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX:SKI), trading 5.6 per cent higher, following a revised proposal from Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan to acquire 100 per cent of Spark's security staples.

NSW recorded 177 new Covid-19 cases following a 4-week lockdown extension around greater Sydney. Victoria recorded 10 new cases.

Local economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released their consumer price index (CPI) for the June quarter 2021, which rose 0.8 per cent.

The most significant price rises in the June quarter were automotive fuel up 6.5 per cent and medical and hospital services up 2.4 per cent due to the annual increase in private health insurance premiums. Electricity prices increased by 3. 3 per cent due to the continued unwinding of the Western Australian Government's $600 electricity credit. Over the twelve months to the June 2021 quarter, the CPI rose 3.8%.

Annual inflation for the June 2021 quarter increased to 3.8 per cent following a rise of 1.1 per cent in the March quarter.

Company news

Mining company IGO (ASX:IGO) reports a strong performance for the second quarter (Q2) ending 30 Jun 2021, following competition of the Tropicana divestment, Lithium transaction and Nova operation.

Mining giant Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) committed $2.4 billion to the Jadar lithium-borates project in Serbia, subject to receiving all relevant approvals.

Spark Infrastructure (ASX:SKI) received a revised proposal from Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan board, of the back of a non-binding indiciative proposal to acquire 100 per cent of ordinary stapled securities in Spark Infrastructure by way of scheme.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trusts, up 0.78 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Information Technology, down 1.44 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX:SKI), trading 5.58 per cent higher at $2.75. It is followed by shares in Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK) and Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Nickel Mines (ASX:NIC), trading 6.81 per cent lower at $1.09. It is followed by shares in Redbubble (ASX:RBL) and PolyNovo (ASX:PNV).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1803.00 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.1 per cent lower at US$202.57 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.52 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.60 US cents.
 

Are you a 708 sophisticated investor?

A sophisticated investor is defined under Section 708 of the Corporations Act (net assets of $2.5 million or annual incomes in excess of $250,000).

They are eligible to receive information regarding wholesale investment opportunities that are not available to regular or retail investors.

Please subscribe if you would like to be alerted to these types of opportunities.