Australian shares were weaker today, dragged down by mining and energy stocks on weak commodity prices.
At the closing bell, the S&P/ASX 200 was 0.16 per cent or 11.50 points lower at 6986.80.
The Dow Jones futures are pointing to a rise of 196 points.
The S&P 500 futures are pointing to a rise of 27 points.
The Nasdaq futures are pointing to a rise of 97 points.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 17 points when the market next opens.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector was Information Technology, up 1.74 per cent. The worst-performing sector was Energy, down 2.88 per cent.
The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV), closing 16.19 per cent higher at $20.17. It was followed by shares in Zip Co (ASX:ZIP) and Imugene (ASX:IMU).
The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 was PointsBet Holdings (ASX:PBH), closing 11.85 per cent lower at $2.90. It was followed by shares in Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) and Tabcorp Holdings (ASX:TAH).
Shares in Asia-Pacific are also weaker.
China’s Shenzhen Component index are leading losses in mixed Asia-Pacific trade following a negative lead from Wall Street, and as investors digest China’s factory activity data. The Shanghai Composite in mainland China has dipped 1.18 per cent, and the Shenzhen Component has shed 1.74 per cent.
China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for August beat expectations slightly, coming in at 49.4, official data showed. The non-manufacturing PMI was at 52.6. Major cities in China, including Dalian and Shenzhen, also tightened Covid restrictions on Tuesday.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index has pared some earlier losses and is trading 0.39 per cent lower, while the Hang Seng Tech index has gained 0.78 per cent.
The Nikkei 225 in Japan has shed 0.49 per cent, and the Topix index has slipped 0.4 per cent.
In South Korea, the Kospi is trading 0.36 per cent higher while the Kosdaq is up 0.8 per cent. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan is little changed.
ANZ New Zealand Business Outlook
The ANZ New Zealand Business Outlook for August showed business confidence lifted in July. Most activity indicators rose, including firms’ own activity, export intentions, investment and construction intentions. However, cost and inflation expectations remained intense, even though pricing intentions eased to the lowest this year. Retail continues to become more pessimistic with some of the strongest average pricing intentions among sectors. Survey indicates pricing pressures not expected to meaningfully abate any time soon. However, with OCR now above neutral RBNZ Governor Orr noted recently central bank is in a more comfortable position. Orr flagged at least another couple of rate hikes before the RBNZ becomes more data-driven and has room to wait before deciding on further policy adjustments.
Japan industrial production unexpectedly increases, retail sales also beat
Industrial production rose 1.0 per cent m/m in July, countering expectations of a 0.5 per cent decline, and follows a sharp 9.2 per cent increase in the previous month. Main drivers were autos and industrial machinery. Marginally outweighed decliners led by tech devices. Shipments grew at a relatively faster pace, leaving inventories flat. Core capital goods shipments rose sharply for the second straight month. METI survey projections point to gains of 5.5 per cent in August and 0.8 per cent in September, which points to a major rebound in Q3. However, adjusted August guidance of a 0.6 per cent decline implies a more moderate trajectory, though still well in positive territory. Retail sales grew 0.8 per cent m/m versus consensus 0.3 per cent and prior 1.3 per cent decrease. Autos remained a notable bright spot, followed by food and beverages. Apparel and appliances were weaker.
China’s major cities ramp up Covid curbs
Reuters reported several of China’s biggest cities imposed tougher COVID-19 curbs on Tuesday. Metropolises from the southern tech hub of Shenzhen to southwestern Chengdu and the northeastern port of Dalian ordered measures such as lockdowns in big districts and business closures aimed at stamping out fresh outbreaks. Shenzhen district of Longhua closed entertainment venues and wholesale markets, and suspended large events. Dalian lockdown begun on Tuesday is set to run until Sunday. Chengdu, with a population of 21 million, ordered a blanket closure of public entertainment and cultural venues. While many of the measures are initially planned to run just a few days, any major escalation or extension in some of China’s biggest cities risks further hurting already tepid growth. While the two most populous cities of Beijingand Shanghai have faced only sporadic cases recently, COVID worries still weighed on Chinese stocks.
Stealth Global Holdings (ASX:SGI) has released financial year results. The company announced a 46 per cent increase in revenue to $102m from both organic growth and contribution from acquisitions. In addition, a record gross profit of $30.7m was announced with a margin of 30 per cent. The company completed three strategic acquisitions over the financial year, being Skipper Transport Parts, United Tools Limited, and the United Tools Albany branch, which significantly extended and diversified Stealth’s products, customers and network. Shares closed 3.7 per cent lower at 13 cents.
Silex Systems (ASX:SLX) has reached a key milestone in the SILEX uranium laser enrichment project, which is being conducted in collaboration with US-based Global Laser Enrichment, the exclusive licensee. The company has successfully completed a rigorous eight-month test program of the first module of the full-scale laser technology required for GLE’s commercial pilot demonstration project. Michael Goldsworthy, Silex’s CEO and Managing Director, said: “This is a pivotal milestone for the SILEX uranium enrichment technology which demonstrates the ability of our laser systems to operate reliably at commercial-scale for extended periods.” Shares closed 13.93 per cent higher at $4.09..
Respiratory imaging technology company 4DMedical (ASX:4DX) has announced a major success in the “burn pit” clinical trial being conducted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the United States. Preliminary analysis shows that 4DMedical’s technology can detect constrictive bronchiolitis in veterans where lung function tests and CT scans failed to do so. Commenting on the clinical trial results, Dr Bradley Richmond said: “We see many Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans who have lung biopsies showing significant damage, but traditional non-invasive testing appears normal. We are hopeful that our technology can help us diagnose lung disease in these Veterans without the need for a surgical lung biopsy. If our efforts are successful, we expect this technology can also be used to detect other lung diseases earlier than traditional testing, so patients get started on treatment sooner.” Shares closed 36 per cent higher at 68 cents.
RareX (ASX:REE) has identified significant extensions to the high-grade zone of primary phosphate mineralisation immediately north of the Rare Dyke rare earths zone at the company’s flagship Cummins Range Rare Earths Project in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Shares closed 1.64 per cent higher at 6 cents.
Battery and advanced materials company Talga Group (ASX:TLG) has extended its memorandum of understanding with Mitsui & Co Europe, one of the largest global trading and investment companies based in Japan. The MoU, now extended until 31 March 2023, builds on discussions under an agreement first signed by the parties in 2020. The extended MoU between Talga and Mitsui continues the intent to advance potential codevelopment of Talga’s Vittangi Anode Project in Sweden through a joint venture. Shares closed 4.35 per cent higher at 1.44.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1724.30 an ounce.
Iron ore is 4.1 per cent lower at US$97.60 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 2.1 per cent.
Light crude is trading $0.98 higher at US$92.62 a barrel.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.97 US cents.