The Aussie market is looking to snap a five day winning streak on Thursday with the ASX 200 softer at lunch. The benchmark index is down 21 points or 0.3% to 6715 and near the lowest levels so far.
The market hit session lows shortly after the release of the September jobs data. The unemployment rate fell from 5.3% to 5.2% with roughly 14,700 jobs added over the month. The fall in the unemployment rate gave the Aussie dollar an immediate boost from 67.55 US cents to a high of 67.84 US as it reduces expectations of a November rate cut from the RBA.
The major weight for the local share market has been the performance of the materials sector and miners in particular. BHP Group has been the highlight on what was a busy morning for quarterly updates. BHP output over the quarter was lower mainly due to maintenance work at its facilities. Production for its main commodity, iron ore, fell 1% on the prior year to 61 million tonnes but there were heavier declines for coal and nickel. BHP shares are falling 2.2% and is the largest individual weight on the broader market. South32 (S32), which was spun-off from BHP in 2015, released mixed quarterly numbers but is managing to improve 1.6%. Gold miner, Northern Star (NST) is falling 6.9% on its 1Q update.
Buy-now pay-later firms continue to drag with Afterpay Touch (APT) sliding another 5.2% and adding to yesterday’s 7.2% decline. ZipCo (Z1P) is also easing another 6.5%. Wisetech Global (WTC) is tumbled as much as 11% before being placed in a trading pause.
Bank of Queensland (BOQ) is weaker by 2.3% after announcing FY19 earnings results. The regional bank saw cash earnings fall 14% to $320 million as lending growth and net interest margins fell over the year.
Healthcare and energy sectors are helping minimise the damage, leading improvements. But one of the biggest movers among the top 200 stocks is wealth manager IOOF Ltd (IFL), rallying as much as 10% on news it will pay $125 million less to acquire ANZ’s OnePath Pensions & Investments after both sides agreed on changes to details of the sale.
So far, 1.5b units have traded worth $3.6b with 484 stocks higher, 492 weaker and 341 unchanged.
Published by CommSec