Losses from Energy, Materials, Real Estate and Consumer Discretionary have dragged the S&P/ASX 200 0.04 per cent lower at noon to 7,233.10.
In other news, the RBNZ has increased the Official Cash Rate (OCR) by 50 basis points, from 4.75 percent to 5.25 percent, going against the predictions of economists and markets that had anticipated a slower tightening pace of a quarter point.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 14 points.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Health Care, up 1.2 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Materials, down 0.8 per cent.
The best-performing large cap is Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN), trading 3.57 per cent higher at $3.34. It is followed by shares in Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) and SEEK (ASX:SEK).
The worst-performing large cap is Lynas Rare Earths (ASX:LYC), trading 3.76 per cent lower at $6.28. It is followed by shares in Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) and BlueScope Steel (ASX:BSL).
Asia-Pacific markets were mixed on Wednesday as Wall Street digested a key U.S. labor report that showed job openings dropped to their lowest level in nearly two years in February.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 led losses in the region, losing 1.01 per cent, while the Topix lost 1.32 per cent as the economy saw its services sector expanding for the seventh straight month.
South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.19 per cent, while the Kosdaq index also gained 0.96 per cent.
Western Mine Group (ASX:WMG) has confirmed the discovery of an extensive nickel sulphide mineral system throughout the Mulga Tank Ultramafic Complex in WA. In response, Managing Director Dr Caedmon Marriott commented, “The hole validates our geological model of the complex and really demonstrates a significant working nickel sulphide mineral system with huge volumes of mineralised ultramafic magma.” Shares are trading 67.4 per cent higher at 19.3 cents.
Adding on to the drilling theme, Dart Mining (ASX:DTM) has commenced diamond drilling of LCT pegmatites at the Dorchap Lithium Project in Victoria. Chairman, James Chirnside commented: “We are working closely with our joint venture partner SQM to efficiently progress the drilling of these LCT pegmatite targets.” Shares are trading 23.5 per cent higher at 6.3c.
Story-i (ASX:SRY) has announced that they have expanded into the lucrative gaming sector, as they have signed a Dealer Program Partnership Contract with Micro-Star International. Through the partnership with MSI, Story-i is now an authorised MSI reseller of a wide range of gaming laptops, PCs and accessories. Story-i’s Non-Executive Director, Michael Pixley, said, “As a technology company, we understand the importance of staying ahead of the curve with our market offering and we will continue to cultivate partnerships with other world leading brands.” Shares are trading 25 per cent higher at 1 cent.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1782.70 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.1 per cent lower at US$121.10 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 3.2 per cent fall.
One Australian dollar is buying 67.57 US cents.