ASX down 0.2% at noon: CBA drops 6%, Unity jumps 6%

The Australian sharemarket is trading in a see-saw motion this morning as the Commonwealth tumbles, gold miners drag and tech stocks surge. At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.2 per cent or 18.1 points lower at 7402.3. The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 4 points.

Across the sectors, only 2 out of 11 are in the red, with financials dragging 1.8 per cent lower and materials down 0.5 per cent. Meanwhile, technology is adding the most points, up 1.6 per cent, followed by health care and consumer discretionary, both up 0.9 per cent. 

Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) is trading 6.2 per cent lower following its quarterly update, while ANZ (ASX:NAB) is down 1.1 per cent, Westpac (ASX:WBC) is down 0.7 per cent and NAB (ASX:NAB) is down 0.1 per cent. 

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is agricultural company Nufarm (ASX:NUF), trading 6.5 per cent lower after releasing its FY21 results. Keep an eye out for a story to be released this afternoon. 

Gold miners were also among the biggest laggards, with Ramelius Resources (ASX:RMS) down 1.7 per cent, St Barbara down 1.6 per cent, Northern Star (ASX:NST) down 2.1 per cent and Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN) down 3.1 per cent. 

Online job searching platform Seek (ASX:SEK) is down 2.3 per cent, despite saying in a trading update that its profits are tracking towards the higher end of its $450 million range. 

Onto gains, telecommunications company Unity (ASX:UWL) is up 6.2 per cent following its share buy-back and operational update. Buy now, pay later stocks Afterpay (ASX:APT) and Zip Co (ASX:Z1P) are up 2.3 and 4 per cent, EML Payments (ASX:EML) is up 5 per cent, Appen (ASX:APX) is up 3.8 per cent, Eagers Automotive (ASX:APE) is up 5.1 per cent. 

In headlines, brewer and distiller industry United Malt (ASX:UMG) is down 1.6 per cent after reporting a fall in earnings for the year ending September 30. 

Local economic news 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the wage price index (WPI) figures for the September quarter, which measures changes in the price of labour, unaffected by compositional shifts in the labour force, hours worked or employee characteristics.

The WPI rose 0.6 per cent this quarter and 2.2 per cent over the year. The private sector rose 0.6 per cent and the public sector 0.5 per cent.

Company news 

Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) recorded cash net profit after tax of $2.2 billion for the September quarter, up 20 per cent on the same period last year but weaker compared to the more recent quarters. 

United Malt (ASX:UMG) reported a fall in earnings for the year ending September 30 primarily due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions, as well as a grain shortfall in North America. 

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information Technology, up 1.6 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Financials, down 1.8 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Uniti Group (ASX:UWL), trading 6.2 per cent higher at $4.10. It is followed by shares in Eagers Automotive (ASX:APE) and EML Payments (ASX:EML).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Nufarm (ASX:NUF), trading 6.5 per cent lower at $4.70. It is followed by shares in Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) and Seek (ASX:SEK).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1853.91 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.4 per cent higher at US$90.40 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 1.3 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 72.86 US cents.