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ASX up 0.17% near noon: Concerns rise over fall in iron ore prices

Australian shares started trading slightly higher on Tuesday, driven by gains in banking stocks following modest movements in New York, with investors eyeing the US February CPI report for insights into future Federal Reserve interest rate decisions.

Despite overall gains, declines in energy sector offset some of the upward momentum, with concerns over China’s economic health driving drops in iron ore prices, while Alumina surged on formalisation of Alcoa’s bid and Ramelius Resources forecasted significant gold proceeds from its Western Australian site.

At 11:30am, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.17 per cent higher at 7,717.

The SPI futures are pointing to a rise of 18 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Financials, up 0.83 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Energy, down 0.72 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Newmont Corporation (ASX:NEM), trading 4.03 per cent higher at $53.18. It is followed by shares in Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) and Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST).

The worst-performing large cap is Yancoal Australia (ASX:YAL), trading 9.23 per cent lower at $5.455. It is followed by shares in Whitehaven Coal (ASX:WHC) and Computershare (ASX:CPU).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$2189.90 an ounce.
Iron ore is 7.1 per cent lower at US$108.40 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 2.7 per cent fall.
One Australian dollar is buying 66.18 US cents.