ASX down 0.12% at noon as CPI and GDP decrease from prior month

Market Reports

by Peter Milios

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for January showed a 7.4 per cent increase compared to the same time last year, which is lower than the 8.4 per cent increase in December and below the expected 8 per cent. This is the second-highest annual increase since the CPI indicator series began in September 2018. The largest contributors to the increase were housing, food and non-alcoholic beverages, and recreation and culture.

Australia's economic growth slowed to 0.5 per cent in the December quarter, below the expected 0.8 per cent, due to weaker demand resulting from inflation and higher interest rates. However, annual gross domestic product grew 2.7 per cent, in line with expectations, with final consumption and net trade being the major drivers of growth. The terms of trade increased by 0.6 per cent, and the household saving ratio fell from 7.1 per cent to 4.5 per cent in the December quarter.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.12 per cent lower at 7,249.70.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 4 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Materials, up 1.45 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Communication Services, down 1.52 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), trading 4.56 per cent higher at $4.36. It is followed by shares in Yancoal Australia (ASX:YAL) and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM).

The worst-performing large cap is Atlas Arteria (ASX:ALX), trading 3.14 per cent lower at $6.63. It is followed by shares in WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) and IDP Education (ASX:IEL).

Asian markets

Asia-Pacific markets were mostly higher on Tuesday as investors digested key economic data across the region.

The Hang Seng index fell 0.69 per cent as Hong Kong’s Chief Executive John Lee announced to drop its mask mandate starting March 1. The Hang Seng Tech index meanwhile fell 1.42 per cent.

In mainland China, the Shenzhen Component climbed 0.7 per cent to close at 11,783.8, leading gains among the benchmark indexes, while the Shanghai Composite was 0.66 per cent higher to end the day at 3,279.6.

South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.42 per cent to close at 2,412.85, while the Kosdaq rose 1.45 per cent to finish at 791.6 as battery material maker L&F stocks jumped after winning a contract with Tesla.

The Nikkei 225 rose fractionally to close at 27,445.56 and the Topix ended Tuesday marginally higher at 1,993.28 as Japan saw its worst decline in factory output in eight months, recording a 4.6 per cent drop in January compared to December.

Company news

Argent Minerals (ASX:ARD) has announced extensive new high-grade silver-lead-zinc at their Kempfield Deposit in NSW. In response, Argent Managing Director Mr Kastellorizos commented: “We have intersected in all the drill holes extensive sulphide mineralisation.” Shares are trading 6.7 per cent higher at 1.6 cents at noon.

Valor Resources (ASX:VAL) has announced key DIA approval for drilling at their Picha Copper Project in Peru. In response, Valor Executive Chairman, George Bauk, said: “this is another exciting milestone for Valor. With social agreements already in place over the Effective Area, we can move ahead directly with an application for Authorization to Commence Drilling over 120 planned holes at the Central Picha Project.” Shares are trading 25 per cent higher at 0.5 cents at noon.

Oceana Lithium (ASX:OCN) has announced high-grade surface lithium mineralisation, including spodumene, confirmed at their project in Brazil. In response, Oceana Chairman Gino Vitale said: “Multiple lithium bearing minerals and potential zonation present in our ground indicate substantial lithium enrichment in this well-recognized LCT pegmatite district.” Shares are trending 6.94 per cent higher at 38.5 cents at noon.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1782.70 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.3 per cent higher at US$124.10 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are flat.
One Australian dollar is buying 67.34 US cents.

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