LA Private

ASX down 1.05 per cent at noon as ABS reports trade surplus

ABS has reported that Australia recorded a trade surplus of $11.8 billion in May, with strong commodity prices contributing to the boost in the economy.

The balance on goods and services surplus increased by $1.3 billion on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The rise in exports was driven by non-monetary gold, resulting in a $2.4 billion increase in goods and services credits. Imports also saw an increase of $1.1 billion, primarily due to non-industrial transport equipment.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 1.05 per cent lower at 7,177.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 81 points.

Best and worst performers

All sectors are in the red. The sector with the fewest losses is Utilities, down 0.04 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Materials, down 1.82 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ), trading 5.74 per cent higher at $5.34. It is followed by shares in WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) and IGO (ASX:IGO).

The worst-performing large cap is Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN), trading 2.78 per cent lower at $3.33. It is followed by shares in Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) and Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN).

Asian markets

Asia-Pacific markets were lower after minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve revealed that the central bank was split on its decision to pause its rate hikes in June and sees more hikes ahead at a slower pace.

Officials said that a brief pause in the Fed’s tightening cycle would give the committee time to assess the impacts of the hikes, the most aggressive moves since the early 1980s.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen kicks off her visit to Beijing this week, where she is expected to meet with senior officials in China. This comes after China on Wednesday unexpectedly canceled EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell’s visit to China.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 1% in its first hour of trade and the Topix shed 0.7%. In South Korea, the Kospi dropped 0.8% while the Kosdaq fell 1.01%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 1.2%, with declines led by basic materials and technology stocks. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.22% and the Shenzhen Component slid 0.18%.

In Southeast Asia, Malaysia’s central bank is expected to hold its overnight policy rate steady at 3%, according to a Reuters poll.

Company news

Morella Corporation (ASX:1MC) has released results from drilling at the Mallina Project in WA, which is a joint venture between Morella and Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA). The mineralised strike has been extended up to 300m, and new zones of mineralisation have been identified. Morella Managing Director James Brown stated: “The future looks bright for this well-located, highly promising project with a commitment from Morella to accelerate additional drilling campaigns.” Shares are trading 21.4 per cent higher at 0.9 cents.

Pacific Edge (ASX:PEB), a cancer diagnostics company, has been the beneficiary of welcome news. Novitas and First Coast have decided to delay the implementation of a Local Coverage Determination. This determination would have seen US Medicare coverage case for Pacific’s Cxbladder product, which is a urine-based test for bladder cancer. Shares in Pacific Edge are trading 113 per cent higher at 18.5 cents.

Critical Resources (ASX:CRR) has intersected 74.4 metres of spodumene-bearing pegmatite at the company’s Mavis Lake Lithium Project in Canada. Managing Director Alex Cheeseman said, “targeted drilling will continue over the coming months and we are truly excited as to the resource potential of this world class asset.” Shares are trading 31 per cent higher at 5.5 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1782.70 an ounce.

Iron ore is 1 per cent higher at US$111.55 a tonne.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 1.58 per cent rise.

One Australian dollar is buying 66.60 US cents.