Blue-chips weigh, BHP falls 7%, Ex-div party continues: Aus shares 0.1% lower at noon

The Australian sharemarket slipped lower with the ex-dividend party on show with a few major players trading lower based on the value of their dividend pay-outs. The XJO dipped by 0.6 per cent at the open with BHP (ASX:BHP), CSL (ASX:CSL) and Woolworths (ASX:WOW) pressuring the index. The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 41 points.

Mining heavyweight BHP (ASX:BHP) fell over seven per cent to their lowest closing price since December last year. The mining giant had a mammoth year in earnings and rewarded shareholders with a monster pay out after they revealed their merger plans with Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL). The moves followed the decline in the iron ore price overnight, down 6.7 per cent on curbed steel operations in China.

Retail supermarket giant Woolworths (ASX:WOW) are trading 1.65 per cent lower while biotech CSL (ASX:CSL) is down 2.1 per cent.

Other players with the likes of Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) are down over 1.2 per cent, Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) are down 0.1 per cent while Telstra (ASX:TLS) is trading 1.6 per cent lower.

Across the sectors, energy and technology are inching higher by 0.1 per cent with materials, down over 3 per cent by no surprise from BHP. Healthcare is down 1.6 per cent followed by utilities. All sectors are marginally lower.

The moves come from Wall St’s performance after tech shares advanced on a steady yield from their 10-year treasury note. Growth stocks came back into focus after investors digested the private jobs numbers ahead of their main jobs report. The Fed is watching the labour market closely for “substantial further progress” to determine a definite timing around tapering their asset purchases program.

Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) are ekeing out a gain at 0.06 per cent after they inked a joint venture deal with Tokyo-based NSF Engagement Corporation in a bid to boost their presence in Asia. Its rivals are trading lower with Webjet (ASX:WEB) down over 1.3 per cent.

On the Covid-19 front, NSW posted 1,288 cases while Victoria 176 cases. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said “pleasingly today, NSW looks like we’ll be the first state or territory to hit 70 per cent first-dose vaccination across our population”.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt echoed the same sentiment for the nation after the country hit a vaccination milestone, with 20 million doses administered across the country.

Mr Hunt said “20 million additional points of hope”. “We’re not just on the way, we’re making real and significant progress”.

Local economic news

Australia’s trade surplus surged by $1 billion in July to a new record high at $12.1 billion as per the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

For the month, a 5 per cent jump in exports at $2 billion from June and a 3 per cent gain at $33.8 billion was seen in imports.

Meanwhile, new home loan commitments rose 0.2 per cent, personal fixed term loans jumped 14.2 per cent higher while business construction loans catapulted higher by 56 per cent in July. 

Company news

Flight Centre (ASX:FLT) celebrates a joint venture deal with Tokyo-based NSF Engagement Corporation in a bid to boost their presence in Asia.

IPOs

Two companies made their debut on the ASX today. Rubicon Water (ASX:RWL) issued shares at $1. They opened at $1.45 and now trading at $1.62.

TEK-Ocean Group (ASX:T3K) issued shares at $0.50. They opened at $0.515 and now trading at $0.48.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Information Technology, up 0.2 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Materials, down 3.2 per cent.

The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Nuix (ASX:NXL), trading 4.5 per cent higher at $2.80. It is followed by shares in PolyNovo (ASX:PNV) and Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals (ASX:CUV).

The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is BHP Group (ASX:BHP), trading 7.2 per cent lower at $41.81. It is followed by shares in United Malt Group (ASX:UMG) and Deterra (ASX:DRR).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1814.17 an ounce.
Iron ore is 6.7 per cent lower at US$143.43 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.5 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 73.59 US cents.
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