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Aussie shares are off to a sluggish start, breaking a twoday winning steak with the ASX 200 down by 0.54 per cent at lunch. A pullback was expected considering that US shares slumped by 1.4 per cent last night, most commodity prices fell and there continues to be a lack of enthusiasm in markets.
Last night Facebook slid by almost 7 per cent on reports of unauthorised access to 50 million user profiles by consultancy firm Cambridge Analytics which worked on President Trump’s 2016 election campaign.
Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton (BHP), Rio Tinto (RIO) and Fortescue (FMG) are under pressure following a 3.6 per cent slide in iron ore prices yesterday. This comes down partly to a report Monday that fewer Chinese cities saw home price increases in February, concerns of ore oversupply (highest since 2013) and poor air equality (risk of further restriction on steel mills).
TPG Telecom (TPM) is lifting by 2.5 per cent despite posting an 11 per cent fall in 1H18 profit to $198.7m. Its shares are up following a lift in annual guidance. Australia’s secondlargest telco is expecting underlying earnings of between $825-$830m (from $800-$815m). TPM also said the construction of its mobile networks in both Australia and Singapore are progressing well.
Freedom Foods (FNP) is up 2.25 per cent. The group which specialises in food for consumers with particular dietary requirements resumed trade after raising $180m from the institutional component of a $200m capital raising. FNP hopes to use the funds to accelerate its growth strategy.
Woolworths (WOW) is up 0.6 per cent. News last week that Wesfarmers (WES) will spin-off Coles seems to have been a positive for its share price. Crown Resorts (CWN) is down by ~3 per cent after trading ex-dividend.
On the economic front, the CBA Business Sales Indicator – a measure of economy wide spending – rose by 1 per cent in February after an equally strong January. This marks the strongest pace of growth in four years.
Consumer confidence rose by 2.2 per cent last week to 118.6 according to a survey.
1.9bn shares have changed hands so far today, worth $1.8bn. 406 stocks are up, 609 down and 378 are flat.
Published by CommSec