Flat market mirrors Asia: Afternoon market insights

The Australian market was flat today mirroring Asian market uncertainty over whether the Chinese government will ease the money supply. The S&P/ASX200 gained in the first hour then gradually fell for the rest of the day, losing all the gains.

Australian resources, metals and mining, materials, and energy sectors improved, while healthcare, financials, telecommunication services, consumer staples and information technology services declined.

The S&P/ASX200 was down just 0.12% to 4329.90. The All Ordinaries Index was also flat, at 0.09% down to 4416.10.

The day’s winners

Medusa Mining (ASX: MML) was up 5.75% to $5.33 at 3.50pm. Medusa Mining is an Australian based gold producer, focused solely on the Philippines.

Imdex (ASX: IMD) rose 4.44% to $3.175 at 3pm. Imdex provides drilling fluids and instruments to the mining, oil and gas, water well and civil engineering industries worldwide. In January, Imdex announced it had purchased Texas-based Vaughn Energy Services exposing the company to the huge US market.

The day’s losers

Qantas Airways (ASX: QAN) was down 3.81% to $1.72 at 2.45pm.

Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund – (ASX: HDF) had plummeted 9.48% to $1.91 by 2.30pm. HDF is a part of Hastings Funds Management — a wholly owned subsidiary of Westpac. It has utility infrastructure assets, with a focus on gas transmission and distribution. Today the ACCC published a report saying it had some problems with a proposed $1.2 billion takeover bid from fellow pipeline owner APA Group that would see 80% of all gas transmission pipes in one company’s hands in eastern Australia.

Sector movers

The strongest sector was the S&P/ASX 200 Metals and mining (Industry) index which was up 1.49% to 3936.4 at 3.30pm.

The weakest sector was the S&P/ASX 200 Information Technology (Sector) which was down 1.21% to 553.80.

Currency

The Australian dollar was flat today. One Australian dollar was buying $US1.0398 at 3.00pm.

Asian markets

Japan’s NIKKEI 225 was up 0.39%, or 38.98 points, to 10122.50 at 3.30pm AEST.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 0.33% or 67.20 points to 20488.40.

Asian financial markets were mixed today amid market speculation about whether China will decide to ease the money supply. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose less than 0.1% to 126.67 as of 1:30 pm in Tokyo after swinging between gains and losses many times.

“It’s not like it’s all good now and that we can all go off to the races,” Nader Naeimi, a Sydney-based strategist at AMP Capital Investors, which manages almost $100 billion told Bloomberg. “Concerns about China’s slowdown will continue until we see growth numbers clearly recovering. We still need to see more commitment to easing.”

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