The Aussie market has given up yesterday’s gains with the ASX 200 dropping 32 points or 0.53% heading into lunch. Local shares received a weak lead from Wall Street which fell from its recent highs as US 10 year interest rate yields rose to its highest levels since April 2014.
Back home, all sectors are in the red with the losses being accelerated by the energy, materials sectors and banks. Commodity stocks fell on weakening oil and metals prices overnight with the US dollar strengthening. Australia’s largest miner, BHP is 1.1% lower with South32 (S32) and Bluescope Steel (BSL) dropping nearly 2%. Among the financials, the big four banks are all lower between 0.2% and 0.5% with Westpac (WBC) the worst performer. Energy stocks are weaker with Woodside Petroleum (WPL) down 2%, Santos (STO) 1.5% lower and Origin Energy 1% weaker.
Gold miners are generally weaker with Newcrest Mining (NCM) down 1.5% despite lifting its gold production by 17% from the previous quarter to 612,695oz and copper production was 34% higher at 22,321t. Costs were also down on the previous three months. NCM expects to hit its output guidance for 2H18. Evolution Mining (EVN) is flat after its quarterly update as it increased its cash balance to $163.5 million. EVN expects to meet its FY18 guidance range of 750,000 – 805,000oz. with an AISC between $820 and $870 per ounce.
In a busy day for company news, Village Roadshow is down 11% on a trading update with the theme park operator and film distribution company outlining its two main divisions (theme parks and cinema divisions) are experiencing ‘difficult trading conditions’ for 1H18. VRL’s 1H result is expected to be substantially below the prior period with FY18 net profit before material items (sale of Singapore business and land) to be between $12-17 million.
Education provider, Navitas (NVT) has announced its first half result for 2018 with a slight dip in revenue for the first six months ended 31 December 2017 to $456.7 million, down 4.6%. NVT’s profit was negatively impacted by the recent US tax changes with profit after tax down 53% to $24.7 million. NVT is down 6.7% at the time of writing.
On the economic front, weekly consumer confidence has risen for another week with business confidence also higher according to a NAB business survey for December. The Aussie dollar currently trades just shy of 81 US cents. So far, 2.1B units have traded hands worth $2.1B with 414 stocks higher, 678 lower and 383 unchanged.
Originally published by CommSec