Lending Association

Market hovers near flat at midday following Feb CPI print

The Australian market hovered near flat for the morning session until the release of February CPI data at 11.30am which then nudged the market into slight positive territory.

The S&P/ASX 200 was trading 0.2% higher as midday approached.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 5 points.

The February CPI number was steady at 3.4% unchanged from the previous month but lower than consensus forecasts of 3.5%. Markets will now turn their attention to tomorrow’s monthly retail sales number.

In company news today Platinum Asset Management shares were trading over 20% lower after the asset manager announced that the firm had lost $1.4 billion in mandated funds from an undisclosed client. APM Human Services has been placed into a trading halt. The company said it requested the trading halt following the receipt of a letter from private equity firm CVC Capital Markets, advising that it was unable to proceed to finalise a transaction on terms consistent with their non-binding offer as disclosed to the ASX on February 28.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Staples, up 1.08 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Information Technology, down 0.87 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Mercury NZ (ASX:MCY), trading 2.27 per cent higher at $6.32. It is followed by shares in Brambles (ASX:BXB) and GQG Partners (ASX:GQG).

The worst-performing large cap is Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL), trading 2.57 per cent lower at $2.845. It is followed by shares in WiseTech Global (ASX:WTC) and Premier Investments (ASX:PMV).

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$2198.30 an ounce.
Iron ore is 4.2 per cent lower at US$104.20 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 2.5 per cent fall.
One Australian dollar is buying 65.24 US cents.