Australia Markets closed

Australian shares slips lower by lunch

 

Australian shares are lower at noon as investors stay on the sidelines ahead of key US inflation data.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 0.14 per cent at 1200 AEDT, with most sectors in the doldrums except for a standout run for the healthcare sector.

The healthcare segment was buoyed by blood products and vaccines supplier CSL's shares lifting 5.6 per cent to $149.98 after its half-year profit topped $US1 billion for the first time, thanks to a big booster from its flu vaccine sales.

Myer shares have bounced 4.2 per cent, to 55.75 cents, after the department store chain announced chief executive Richard Umbers had stepped down.

Elsewhere, Insurance Australia Group's shares were up 2.9 per cent after the insurer lifted first-half profit by 23.5 per cent and Aveo Group lifted 3.5 per cent, after its first-half underlying profit fell 33 per cent following allegations during the period the retirement village operator had been ripping off residents.

Shares in Orora were around two per cent higher after the packaging business lifted its half-year profit 12.7 per cent, thanks to a boost from its core businesses and recent acquisitions.

Woodside was in a trading halt ahead of a capital raising, but other local energy producers were mixed, with Origin 0.2 per cent higher, and Oil Search and Santos lower.

Meanwhile, the Australian dollar has retraced its earlier losses suffered against a weakened US dollar.

The local currency was trading at 78.64 US cents at 1200 AEDT on Wednesday, unchanged from Tuesday.

ON THE ASX:

* At 1200 AEDT, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 8.4 points, or 0.14 per cent, at 5,847.5 points.

* The broader All Ordinaries index was down 10.3 points, or 0.17 per cent, at 5,946.7 points.

* The SPI200 futures contract was up 4 points or 0.07 per cent at 5,797 points.

* National turnover was 1.3 billion securities traded worth $2.2 billion, at 1215 AEDT.

CURRENCY SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:

One Australian dollar buys:

* 78.64 US cents, from 78.64 US cents on Tuesday

* 84.76 Japanese yen, from 85.17 yen

* 63.66 euro cents, from 63.85 euro cents

* 56.64 British pence, from 56.76 pence

* 108.03 NZ cents, from 108.26 NZ cents

GOLD:

The spot price of gold in Sydney at 1200 AEDT was $US1,331.91 per fine ounce, from $US1,326.45 per fine ounce on Tuesday.

BOND SNAPSHOT AT 1200 AEDT:

* CGS 4.50 per cent April 2020, 1.9786pct, from 1.9828pct on Tuesday

* CGS 4.75pct April 2027, 2.8078pct, from 2.8228pct

Sydney Futures Exchange prices:

* March 2018 10-year bond futures contract at 97.14 (implying a yield of 2.86pct), from 97.13 (implying a yield of 2.87pct) on Tuesday

* March 2018 3-year bond futures contract at 97.86 (2.14pct), unchanged.

(*Bond market closes taken at 1630 AEDT previous local session; currency closes taken from 1700 AEDT previous local session)

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