Financials drag ASX down 0.44% at noon

Market Reports

by Peter Milios

Overnight, the Financials sector in the US weakened further, with regional stocks falling broadly, in particular the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF losing 2.7 per cent.

This trickled down to the Australian sector, with Financials falling by 1.15 per cent at noon.

Westpac (ASX:WBC) is down 0.7 per cent, Commonwealth (ASX:CBA) has fallen by 0.9 per cent, whilst NAB (ASX:NAB) os trading 1.86 per cent lower.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.44 per cent lower at 6,937.60.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 29 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Utilities, up 0.54 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Financials, down 1.15 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), trading 2.62 per cent higher at $3.52. It is followed by shares in Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG).

The worst-performing large cap is Yancoal Australia (ASX:YAL), trading 2.73 per cent lower at $5.35. It is followed by shares in Cleanaway Waste Management (ASX:CWY) and National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB).

Asian news

Asia-Pacific markets largely fell on Friday, as investors weigh remarks from U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who said federal emergency actions to back up failed regional banks could be used again if necessary.
This conveyed a different message compared to Yellen’s comments a day earlier, when she told senators that the Treasury was not considering any plans to insure all U.S. bank deposits without congressional approval.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 was down 0.38 per cent, and the Topix saw a larger loss of 0.46 per cent as the country saw its core inflation come in at 3.1 per cent for February, marking the first time in 14 months that the pace of inflation has slowed.
South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.23 per cent, while the Kosdaq traded higher at 0.87 per cent.
Both Japan and Australia will release PMI estimates for March, for the manufacturing and services sectors.

Company news

Sihayo Gold (ASX:SIH) announced significant gold intercepts at their project in Indonesia. Sihayo’s Executive Chairman, Colin Moorhead, commented, “With these latest intercepts, we believe there is strong potential to grow the resource and further strengthen the case for an independent underground operation at Sihayo.” Shares are trading 150 per cent higher at 0.3 cents.

Lanthanein Resources Ltd (ASX:LNR) announced the completion of two surveys at the Lyons Rare Earths Project in WA. Brian Thomas, Lanthanein Technical Director commented, “The heritage avoidance surveys allowing the company to prepare for the arrival of the drill rigs to make the larger breakthrough discovery that could potentially transform the company.” Shares are trading 7.14 per cent higher at 1.5 cents.

Ausgold (ASX:AUC) has announced further high-grade gold intercepted at the Katanning Gold Project in WA. Commenting on the drilling results, Ausgold Managing Director, Matthew Greentree, said: “The increasing scale of gold mineralisation further supports the definitive feasibility study underway and provides the basis for a larger production profile.” Shares are trading 2.1 per cent higher at 4.9 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1782.70 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.9 per cent lower at US$120.30 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 1.3 per cent fall.
One Australian dollar is buying 66.81 US cents.

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