BHP & gold stocks fall, energy rallies: ASX down 0.4% at noon

Market Reports

by Lauren Evans

The Australian sharemarket is off to a weak start this morning after falling into negative territory. At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.4 per cent or 31.8 points lower at 7338.4. The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 32 points.

Across the sectors, real estate is falling the most, down 1.7 per cent. Health care is next, down 1 per cent, followed by materials, down 0.6 per cent. Energy is adding the most points, up 1.2 per cent, while financials and utilities are the only other sectors in the black. 

The best-performing stock is Computershare (ASX:CPU), trading 5.7 per cent higher. The worst-performing stock is Centuria Industrial REIT (ASX:CIP), trading 5.7 per cent after raising $300 million through an institutional placement to acquire eight industrial assets.

Iron ore prices are steady, but mining giant BHP (ASX:BHP) is down 1.7 per cent while Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) are up 1.1 and 0.8 per cent. Gold stocks are falling. Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) is down 1.5 per cent, Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) is down 2.9 per cent and Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU) is down 4 per cent.

Health stocks are weighing on the index. Ear specialist Cochlear (ASX:COH) is down 4.9 per cent after announcing a US infringement complaint. Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) is down 1.8 per cent, Fisher and Paykel (ASX:FPH) is down 1.5 per cent and CSL (ASX:CSL) is down 0.2 per cent.

Energy stocks are rising as oil prices rally. Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL) is up 2.7 per cent and paying a dividend today. Santos (ASX:STO) and Oil Search (ASX:OSH) are up 1.5 and 1.3 per cent.

Company news

Centuria Industrial REIT (ASX:CIP) has raised $300 million through an institutional placement announced yesterday to acquire 8 freehold urban infill industrial assets for a total of $351.3 million.

Westpac (ASX:WBC) welcomes Catherine McGrath from Barclays Bank as chief executive officer (CEO) for Westpac, New Zealand.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy, up 1.2 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trusts, down 1.7 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Computershare (ASX:CPU), trading 5.7 per cent higher at $17.89. It is followed by shares in Virgin Money UK (ASX:VUK) and Premier Investments (ASX:PMV).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Centuria Industrial REIT (ASX:CIP), trading 5.7 per cent lower at $3.78. It is followed by shares in Cochlear (ASX:COH) and Perseus Mining (ASX:PRU).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1749.64 an ounce.
Iron ore is $0.03 lower at US$108.67 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 1.72 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.94 US cents.

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