The Australian sharemarket is a touch weaker at lunch and looking to snap a five session winning streak. The ASX 200 is down 16 points or 0.27% to 5874 after being down by 20 points at its worst for the day. It was a quiet lead from global markets with Wall Street closed overnight to observe the martin Luther King Jr public holiday.
The main weights and underperformers on the local markethave been the heavyweight sectors in materials and financials with all other sectors advancing. Australia’s largest listed miner by market capitalisation, BHP Group (BHP), is the main drag as it slides 0.7% on its December quarter activities update. Over the quarter, iron ore output fell 6% on the previous year. Production also fell for petroleum, copper and energy coal. Productivity for the half was impacted by unplanned outages at its Olympic Dam plant.
Lynas Corp (LYC) is lifting 1.7% after also releasing a quarterly report. LYC recorded rare earth sales of 5,522 tons over the Dec quarter while revenue came in at $79.9 million. LYC stated it is continuing to work with theMalaysian review committee into its operations in the country.
Oil and gas producer, Oil Search (OSH) is also softer on a 17% decline in production and sales in FY18 over FY17 due to an earthquake in PNG in the early part of the year. OSH’s 2H18 performance was stronger than 1H18, producing 7.44 mmboe over the Dec quarter. OSH shares are down 0.8%.
The major banks are all lower with the big four giving up at least 1% so far today. Communication and media stocks are among the most improved. Domain Holdings (DHG) is up 4.4% while Nine Entertainment is rising 3.3%. Super Retail (SUL) is lifting 3.8% after announcing a new Managing Director & CEO effective from 31 March 2019.
The Aussie dollar is a touch weaker at 71.55 US cents with modest moves against the greenback on the US holiday.
So far today, 0.8b units were traded worth $1.4b with 444 stocks higher 433 lower and 359 unchanged.
Published by James Tao, CommSec