Mid Session Report
The ASX 200 traded lower at the open thanks to the combination of stocks going ex-dividend and the defensive tone inspired by developments in the Ukraine. The market continued to trade lower over the course of the morning with few signs of consolidation. As lunchtime approached the index was still making new lows with a loss of 1.1% or 62 points.
The main stock rotation theme on Monday was the rise of energy stocks. The price of Oil traded at $104.40 per barrel, the highest level since last September as investors focussed on energy security in Eastern Europe. Locally energy stocks were amongst the best performers. Woodside Petroleum Limited (WPL) was at $38.23 a gain of 28 cents or 0.75%, Oilsearch, recently traded at $8.89, a gain of 24 cents or 2.7%.
Elsewhere, the demand for safe havens was well reflected in the price of gold which rose sharply at the start of the Asian session to be up by about $15.00 an ounce,rising above the $US1340.00 level. Miners of the yellow metal were thriving as a result, including Newcrest Mining which was up 56 cents or 4.9% at $11.90.
Mining services group Worley Parsons (WOR) announced it had added to its pipeline of work with the immediate commencement of work on a $132 million contract to provide engineering and procurement services to a bitumen refinery project in Alberta, Canada. WOR shares were recently at $16.65 a loss of 16 cents or 0.95%
It was a busy morning for economic news which included the release of Job advertisements data. The ANZ series showed a 5.1 per cent rise in February following a flat start to the year. The market took the news in its stride particularly given the seasonal influences on the data.
Other figures showed that new homes sales rose 0.5 per cent in January following a small decline in December. Sales of new detached houses rose by 0.3 per cent, with multi-unit sales increasing by 1.6 per cent. The three months to January saw an annualised increase of 22.3 per cent compared with the same period twelve months earlier.
The Aussie dollar remained under pressure over the morning session with any recovery in the near term unlikely as global risk off sentiment prevails
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