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ASX flat at noon: ABS reveals retail data slowed since start of year

The most recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals that Australia’s retail spending, which has been slowing down since the beginning of the year, remained stagnant in April. The figures indicate that there was no change in retail turnover compared to a 0.4 per cent increase in March and a 0.2 per cent increase in February.

Following Russia’s suggestion that OPEC+ is unlikely to adjust production levels at its upcoming meeting, investors are shifting away from energy stocks. Global oil prices experienced a decline of over 3 per cent overnight, causing West Texas Intermediate to drop below $72 per barrel and erasing most of the week’s gains. Brent crude oil, on the other hand, remained steady at $76.24 per barrel after a 2.7 per cent decrease. The market reacted to Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak’s statement, indicating that further measures are unlikely to be taken at the Vienna gathering in June. This development follows comments earlier in the week from Saudi Energy Minister Pri, contributing to the investor shift away from energy stocks.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is flat at 7,138.10.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 6 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information Technology, up 0.76 per cent. The worst-performing sector is REITs, down 0.85 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL), trading 4.08 per cent higher at $3.06. It is followed by shares in Mercury NZ (ASX:MCY) and NEXTDC (ASX:NXT).

The worst-performing large cap is Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corporation (ASX:FPH), trading 4.81 per cent lower at $22.835. It is followed by shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and ALS (ASX:ALQ).

Asian news

Asia-Pacific markets are mixed after Wall Street saw a tech rally led by Nvidia, and U.S. negotiators moved closer to a debt ceiling deal with just a week to go before the government faces a potential default.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.69 per cent, surpassing the 31,000 mark, while the Topix also saw a gain of 0.4 per cent.

Tokyo’s headline inflation, which is seen as a gauge for the nationwide reading, rose at a slower pace of 3.2 per cent in May from April’s figure of 3.5 per cent. Inflation after stripping out fresh food and fuel costs rose by 3.9 per cent, its fastest pace since August 1982.

South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.11 per cent, while the Kosdaq was up marginally.

Mainland Chinese markets started the day with a weak open, with the Shanghai Composite trading close to the flatline and and the Shenzhen Component down 0.27 per cent

Company news

Blaze Minerals (ASX:BLZ) has entered into a Heads of Agreement with Exiro Minerals to acquire 100 per cent of the North Spirit Lithium Project located in Ontario, Canada. Corporate Director Mathew Walker stated, “[We] look forward to the execution of our northern hemisphere summer exploration program with our partners at Exiro.” Shares are trading 130 per cent higher at 2.3 cents.

Pure Hydrogen Corporation (ASX:PH2) announced an order valued at up to AUD 34 million under the existing contract with Renova AB to supply Hydrogen Fuel Cell trucks. Managing Director, Scott Brown, said: “Pure Hydrogen is having productive negotiations with potential customers in the heavy vehicle industry.” Shares are trading 8.89 per cent higher at 24.5 cents.

Far East Gold (ASX:FEG) announced bonanza grade gold at their Woyla Project in Indonesia. CEO, Mr. Shane Menere commented, “The results from recent mapping serve to indicate that there are still plenty of significant discoveries to be made within the Woyla project.” Shares are trading 11.7 per cent higher at 33.5 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1962.90 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.8 per cent higher at US$98.10 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 1.3 per cent fall.
One Australian dollar is buying 65.06 US cents.