LA Private

ASX down 0.17% near noon: Investors await federal budget

The Australian sharemarket edged downwards, primarily driven by losses in financials, anticipating a federal budget presentation by Treasurer Jim Chalmers from the Labor government, expected to offer cost-of-living relief to households amidst a focus on maintaining high interest rates by the Reserve Bank in the fight against inflation, alongside a projected consecutive surplus.

At 11:30am, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.17 per cent lower at 7,735.80.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 10 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Consumer Discretionary, up 0.69 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Energy, down 1.07 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ), trading 2.97 per cent higher at $5.55. It is followed by shares in WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) and Computershare (ASX:CPU).

The worst-performing large cap is Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), trading 2.54 per cent lower at $4.035. It is followed by shares in IGO (ASX:IGO) and Xero (ASX:XRO).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$2362.20 an ounce.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 1 per cent fall.

One Australian dollar is buying 65.88 US cents.