The Australian market is off to a sluggish start, with the ASX 200 easing by 0.4 per cent at lunch on Tuesday with losses from miners, banks and energy stocks the main weight. US markets were closed last night for the Martin Luther King Jr Day holiday while European shares had an uninspiring performance.
The price of iron ore fell by almost 2.5 per cent last night, which seems to be dragging companies like BHP Billiton (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO), Fortescue (FMG) and Atlas Iron (AGO) down by as much as 2.7 per cent.
RIO said it expects iron ore production from Western Australia will probably rise in FY18 while shipments are expected to lift to between 330m – 340 metric tons over the year.
Despite the weakness local equities remain near the best levels in a decade. So far this year however, the market has had a tendency to lose momentum in the afternoon which shows a lack of enthusiasm on the part of investors and traders.
Bellamy’s (BAL) is one of the best performers surging by 23 per cent after issuing a guidance upgrade. The infant formula maker now expects revenue to lift by 30-35 per cent in FY18 (rather than 15-20 per cent).
This seems to be lifting shares in its peers including A2 Milk (A2M) which is lifting by 6 per cent and Blackmores (BKL) which is up 4 per cent.
Orocobre (ORE) has entered a trading halt as the lithium producer announced a $361m capital raising to help pay for its expansion in Argentina. It has also announced record quarterly production and has maintained guidance for FY18. ORE surged by 50 per cent in 2017.
Retail stocks are standing out at lunch. Results of a survey showed that consumer confidence has hit fresh four-year highs. This follows last week’s update on spending, which showed three times the expected lift in retail spending in November. Specialty Fashion (SFH) is standing out, up by ~9 per cent.
2.7bn shares have changed hands so far today worth $1.6bn. 529 stocks are up, 561 down and 393 are flat.
Moving forward, Thursday is likely to be the busiest day of the week with jobs data, updates on China’s economy and production numbers from BHP Billiton (BHP), Woodside (WPL) and Whitehaven Coal (WHC) in focus.
Originally published by CommSec