The Australian market fell into the red at the beginning of trade after a lack lustre session in the US overnight. US share markets were held in tight ranges on Thursday. After trading in a 70-point range, theDow Jones ended higher by 6 points, the NASDAQ up 24 points.
At the open of trade the ASX 200 was down around 10 points and by lunch time the ASX 200 had fallen13 points and the All Ordinaries Index had fallen by 15 points. The energy was again weaker and the materials sector fell into the red, while banks and technology based stocks rose.
The energy sector came under pressure yesterday on the news that the Australian Government plans to restrict gas exports to boost domestic supply and help reduce energy capacity concerns. In early trade it looked like the large gas players were in for another negative session but by lunch the early losses were reduced and Santos (STO) was only up 0.4% and Origin Energy (ORG) off a few cents This morning miner hit by weakness in metal prices overnight, Aluminium fell 2.1% with copper, tin and zinc down as much as 0.9%, this caused BHP Billiton (BHP) share prices to fall by over 2% and South32 (S32) weakened by 1%. The gold sector continued to sell off today even with the US dollar gold price stabilising overnight, Newcrest (NCM) fell over 4% and Northern Star (NST) fell over 5%.
The Technology sector was higher helped by Computershare (CPU) up over up over 3.5% Early this morning Tatts Group Limited (TTS) told the market it had rejected the revised $6Billion private equity takeover bid from Pacific Consortium. TTS said the ‘bid is not superior to proposed merger with Tabcorp (TAH)’. TTS and TAH shares both slightly weaker in the morning session.
Charter Hall Group (CHC) told the market today it is looking to raise about $275Million to enhance its investments in 9 existing projects/partnerships by investing $333Million to help diversifying its investments. Charter Hall (CHC) also advised the market the company has lifted CHC’s earning per share (EPS) growth forecasts for the full year 2017 from 12% to 18%, helped by a one off 5year interim performance fee of $10Million from Charter Hall Office Trust. Charter Hall Group is currently in a trading halt until after the raising is completed.
Ten Network (TEN) shares fell to a record low yesterday after posting a greater loss in the last half than expected. Today Ten Network once again in the red off 13% to $0.3125. Seven West Media Limited (SWM) also slightly weaker.
MG Unit Trust (MGC) the funding vehicle for Murray Goulbourn Cooperative today advised the market that “Murray Goulburn Cooperative Co Limited (MG) has been notified by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that it has filed proceedings against MG in the Federal Court of Australia” shares in MGC down 0.49% 
The Australia dollar at lunch time the AUD/USD at 0.7470
Originally published by CommSec
Craig James – Chief Economist (Author)Juliana Roadley – Market Analyst (Author)