Aussie shares are weaker at lunch on Thursday with the ASX 200 flat at 7,022 around midday, recovering from its opening lows where the index was down 35 points or roughly 0.5%. Shares lifted following the release of the March jobs data where the unemployment rate eased to 5.6% with employment rising by 70,000 (est. +35,000). The Aussie dollar has eased from morning highs to 77.2 US cents.
While the majority of sectors are in the red, losses are heaviest among communications and healthcare while financials are also a weight. Resources are the main supports on rising commodity prices overnight. Oil prices rose nearly 5%.
While most energy and mining stocks are rising, one of the worst performers so far has been Whitehaven Coal (WHC) which is sliding 14%. The coal producer released a quarterly update which has seen run-of-mine production lift 7% on a year ago to 5.5m metric tons for the March Quarter. WHC has downgraded its FY21 output guidance due to issues at its Narrabri mine in NSW.
Regis Resources (RRL) is also suffering a double digit fall with a 10% drop. The gold miner has resumed trade following its 2-day trading halt as it raises funds from institutional investors via an entitlement offer. Proceeds of the offer will be used to partially fund its recent acquisition of IGO Ltd’s (IGO) Tropicana Gold Project.
Ampol (ALD) is 5% higher on its own quarterly update. The company’s convenience retail division has seen strong sales with a ~10% lift in like-for-like sales compared to the same time last year. Its struggling Lytton refinery was also breakeven for the period.
Bank of Queensland (BOQ) is 1% lower on the release of its first half profit results. Revenue was 6% higher to $577 million with cash earnings also improving by 9% to $165 million. The result was of no major surprise with earnings mostly released to the market in advance.
Qantas (QAN) is 1% higher as the airline expects domestic capacity to reach 90% of pre-COVID levels in 4Q21 (June) while Jetstar is to exceed pre-COVID capacity due to the Federal Government’s support for domestic tourism. QAN still expects wider international travel to resume in October.
Published by CommSec