LA Private

Materials weigh on ASX: Aus shares down 0.26% at noon

Seven out of eleven sectors are trading higher today, however, losses from Materials, including a 1.96 per cent fall from BHP (ASX:BHP), a 1.16 per cent fall from Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) and a 2.58 per cent drop from Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) has been the main driver in today’s current losses.

Flash PMI data for April showed that the Australian private sector experienced a renewed expansion in business activity, driven by service providers. The Judo Bank Flash Australia Composite PMI Output Index rose to 52.2, indicating a ten-month high. However, the manufacturing sector recorded a drop in production due to reduced demand, with the Flash Australia Manufacturing PMI falling to 48.1, the lowest in three years.

Overall, at noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.26 per cent lower at 7,342.90.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 31 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Energy, up 1 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Materials, down 0.98 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC), trading 4.02 per cent higher at $7.25. It is followed by shares in Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC) and James Hardie Industries plc (ASX:JHX).

The worst-performing large cap is Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO), trading 2.39 per cent lower at $117.46. It is followed by shares in Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (ASX:BEN) and Meridian Energy (ASX:MEZ).

Asian markets

Asia-Pacific markets traded mixed on Friday as Japan’s core inflation for March came in at 3.1 per cent, unchanged from February, data from the Statistics Bureau showed.
This is the second straight month of slowing inflation after Japan’s headline inflation hit a 41-year high of 4.3 per cent in January.
The Nikkei 225 and Topix climbed marginally.
Private surveys for Japan and Australia’s purchasing manager’s index showed that factory activity in both countries continued to expand, powered by their respective services sectors.
South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.16 per cent, while the Kosdaq saw a larger loss at 1.94 per cent.
Futures tied to Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index pointed to a lower open for the market, standing at 20,274 compared to the index’s last close of 20,396.97.
Hong Kong will also release its inflation data for March, which is expected to come in at 1.8 per cent.

Company news

Equatorial Resources (ASX:EQX) announced that it has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire the Nimba Alliance Iron Ore Project in West Africa. The Project was previously owned by an international consortium of major mining companies, including BHP Group Limited (ASX:BHP). Shares are trading 44.8 per cent higher at 21 cents.

RBR Group (ASX:RBR) announced an operational update, in which PD has completed works on the WBHO camp and services project and is in the process of handing over the facility to the customer. In response, Executive Chairman, Ian Macpherson commented, “The Company sees the strong performance of PD on these initial contracts as a platform from which to build in this key focus area.” Shares are trading 50 per cent higher at 0.3 cents.

Bass Oil (ASX:BAS) released their quarterly report, in which production increased by 18 per cent, and cash increased by 19.7 per cent. Now looking ahead, Managing Director Mr Tino Guglielmo, commented: “The 2023 work program is well underway and focused on growing the Company into a mid-tier oil and gas producer.” Shares are trading 3.85 per cent higher at 13.5 cents.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$2012.80 an ounce.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 3.7 per cent fall.
One Australian dollar is buying 67.26 US cents.