The Australian sharemarket has lived up to what the SPI expected though managed to keep its losses around under the 1.1 per cent mark they earmarked after Wall St crumbled in light of the first Omicron case identified in the US. At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.7 per cent or 48 points lower at 7,188. The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 41 points.
The Nasdaq was the underperformer which has rippled over to the local bourse with the technology sector under quite a bit of pressure. As the worst performer of the morning so far, the sector has sunk over 3.0 per cent with the main culprit being buy-now pay-later giant Afterpay (ASX:APT).
Investors are selling out of the stock with the price trading over 5.0 per cent lower after the shareholders’ meeting slated for next week to seal the $39 billion takeover deal was postponed. The date has been pushed back till the end of this year or early next year following regulatory approval from the Bank of Spain.
Meanwhile, utilities, industrials, and financials are seeing mild gains with some noteworthy stocks doing some heavy lifting with the likes of AGL (ASX:AGL) trading 1.6 per cent higher, Transurban (ASX:TCL) adding 2.0 per cent and Commonwealth Bank (ASX:CBA) adding 1.4 per cent.
Former Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens will pick up the baton from Peter Warne who will step down from the role in May next year as chairman of both Macquarie Group and its banking arm, Macquarie Bank (ASX:MQG). Shares are trading 0.5 per cent higher at $196.63.
The other major lenders are trading mixed with National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) adding 0.8 per cent, ANZ (ASX:ANZ), down 0.4 per cent with Westpac (ASX:WBC) falling 0.7 per cent.
Chalice Mining (ASX:CHC) continues to impress market participants after their discovery of the largest nickel sulphide deposit in over 20 years announced last month. Today the miner has unveiled their newest discovery has at its Julimar nickel-copper-platinum group element project in Western Australia, roughly 70km northeast of Perth with results including 3 metres at 2 grams per tonne palladium, 0.3 grams per tonne platinum, 0.6 per cent nickel, 0.5 per cent copper, and 0.05 per cent cobalt. They’re the best performer of the morning surging 3.5 per cent higher at $9.71.
Elsewhere, iron ore miners have bucked the trend we saw in European markets amid the iron futures pointing to a decline. The laggard being Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) down 1.6 per cent while Fortescue Metals (ASX:FMG) is shedding the least, down 0.4 per cent.
In other news, Fashion retailer Premier Investments (ASX:PMV) has seen sales recover over the first half of the new financial year despite lockdowns across New South Wales, Victoria, and New Zealand forcing the retail giant to close more than half of its stores. The owner of Just Jeans said that total sales for the 17 weeks to the end of November fell 3.5 per cent, a recovery compared to the first seven weeks of the half where sale tumbled 9.5 per cent. Shares are trading 1.1 per cent lower at $29.90
Local economic news
The nation’s surplus fell to $11.22 billion in October from a downwardly revised AUD 11.82 billion in the prior month beating market consensus of $11 billion. Exports fell 3.0 per cent to $43,053 million driven by falls in iron ore prices. Imports fell 3.0 per cent to $31,833 million driven by a fall in imports of capital goods.
Retail sales rose by 4.9 per cent in October after a 1.3 per cent growth a month earlier. This was the second straight month of gains and the strongest pace since November last year, buoyed by the end of lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory as per the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
New investor loan commitments rose 1.1 per cent to near record levels in October 2021 (seasonally adjusted), according to ABS.
UBS upgraded Domain Holdings (ASX:DHG) to buy from neutral after CoreLogic reported a 34 per cent jump in November listings, compared with a 25 per cent jump in September amid the retreat in the company’s share-price. The broker believes that the CoreLogic data signals an acceleration in volumes heading into year-end and upgrades Domain’s financial year 2022 earnings forecasts 2.0 per cent. The broker believes that there is room to grow revenue above the rate of listing and potential upside from stamp duty reforms. Target price is steady at $5.80. Shares in Domain Holdings (ASX:DHG) are trading 0.3 per cent lower at $5.18.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Industrials, up 0.4 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Information Technology, down 3.1 per cent.
The best-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN) trading 3.5 per cent higher at $9.71, followed by shares in GUD Holdings (ASX:GUD), and Worley (ASX:WOR).
The worst-performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Orocobre (ASX:ORE) trading 7.8 per cent lower at $9.27, followed by shares in Netwealth Group (ASX:NWL), and AMP (ASX:AMP).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1780.92 an ounce.
Iron ore is 1.3 per cent higher at US$101.40 a ton.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a fall of 0.7 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.00 US cents.