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ASX down 0.91% at noon: Iron ore miners suffer

Australian iron ore miners are experiencing a decline in stock prices on Thursday due to rising apprehensions about the demand for steel from China.

BHP (ASX:BHP) has dropped 1.1 per cent to $42.34 just before noon. Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) was down even further, off by 2.7 per cent to $19.10, while Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) eased 1 per cent.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.91 per cent lower at 7,148.40.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 59 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information Technology, up 0.9 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Materials, down 1.53 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is NEXTDC (ASX:NXT), trading 3.3 per cent higher at $12.07. It is followed by shares in Infratil (ASX:IFT) and Technology One (ASX:TNE).

The worst-performing large cap is Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE), trading 6.03 per cent lower at $11.99. It is followed by shares in Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN).

Asian news

Asia-Pacific markets are mixed as the Bank of Korea held its benchmark interest rate steady at 3.5 per cent, in line with expectations.

South Korea, which was one of the first Asian banks to pause its rate hikes, has held rates for three straight meetings since January. South Korea’s Kospi was up marginally and the Kosdaq gained 0.27 per cent.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.22 per cent, but the Topix saw a loss of 0.3 per cent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index breached its two month low, falling 1.22 per cent and below the 19,000 mark for the first time since March 20.

Mainland Chinese markets are all lower, with both the Shanghai Composite trading close to the flatline and the Shenzhen Component up 0.1 per cent.

Indonesia will also announce its benchmark interest policy rates on Thursday, with economists polled by Reuters expecting the country’s central bank to hold its 7-day reverse repurchase rate at 5.75 per cent

Company news

Mamba Exploration (ASX:M24) has announced that drilling at their Hyden REE project has intersected wide & shallow mineralisation of TREO. MD Mike Dunbar commented, “the mineralisation is very widespread, but it is also remarkably consistent within the mineralised intervals.” Shares are trading 14.3 per cent higher at 12 cents.

European Metals (ASX & AIM: EMH, OTCQX: EMHXY, ERPNF and EMHLF) announces that their testwork realises continued outstanding lithium recoveries. Executive Chairman Keith Coughlan said: “We look forward to further results of the ongoing optimisation work as part of the DFS.” Shares are trading flat at 63 cents.

Argent Minerals (ASX:ARD) announced that their data review highlights bonanza grades at their Ringville Project in Tasmania. MD Mr Kastellorizos commented: “The historical diamond drilling sulphide intersections clearly demonstrate thick mineralised extensions over the Salmons Vein Deposit.” Shares are trading 17 at 1.1 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1975.50 an ounce.
Iron ore is 4.9 per cent lower at US$97.35 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 1.2 per cent fall.
One Australian dollar is buying 65.32 US cents.