Only Consumer Staples and Utilities are trading positive at noon, as the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.58 per cent lower at 7,367.60 at noon.
In addition, The Producer Price Index, which tracks wholesale prices, increased by 0.7 per cent in January, surpassing the expected 0.4 per cent increase. This is in line with higher-than-expected readings in the Consumer Price Index and Retail Sales Report for January, indicating that inflation is persistent and efforts to combat it will need to continue.
RBA Governor Philip Lowe has warned that failure to control inflation may cause a significant economic downturn and unemployment surge. He stated that controlling entrenched inflation is costly and requires high interest rates, and emphasised the importance of bringing inflation back to target.
The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 44 points.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Utilities, up 0.8 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Information Technology, down 2.2 per cent.
The best-performing large cap is QBE Insurance Group (ASX:QBE), trading 8.4 per cent higher at $14.52. It is followed by shares in Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) and Bendigo and Adelaide Bank (ASX:BEN).
The worst-performing large cap is Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), trading 5.5 per cent lower at $4.43. It is followed by shares in Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) and Xero (ASX:XRO).
Asia Pacific markets traded lower on Friday as investors digested more economic data out of the U.S. and more hawkish commentary from the Federal Reserve. In South Korea, the Kospi lost 0.53 per cent and the Kosdaq fell 0.82 per cent, while in Japan, the Nikkei 225 opened 0.59 per cent lower and the Topix lost 0.51 per cent.
Megado Minerals (ASX:MEG) has entered into a formal and binding agreement with DG Resource Management to acquire the Cyclone Lithium Project in Canada. In response, Megado Managing Director, Ben Pearson, said: ““Acquiring the Cyclone Project significantly enhances our North American footprint and is consistent with our strategy of securing highly prospective exploration projects that provide exposure to the green energy transition and global decarbonisation.” Shares are trading 102 per cent higher at 8.7 cents at noon.
Etherstack (ASX:ESK) has released their full year results presentation for 2022. The Company recorded a 14 per cent increase in revenue growth, 33 per cent growth in EBITDA, and a 51 per cent growth in NPAT. In response, David Deacon, Etherstack CEO noted, “Etherstack continued building its recurring revenue base, its intellectual property portfolio and an opportunity pipeline containing top-tier global communications companies.” Shares are trading 5.9 per cent higher at 54 cents.
Sayona Mining (ASX:SYA) has further advanced the restart of lithium production at its flagship North American Lithium (NAL) operation in Canada, with the operation tracking on time and on budget for its March 2023 restart. In response, Sayona’s Managing Director, Brett Lynch commented: “Progress to date has been excellent, and I congratulate the project team for delivering the NAL restart on time and on budget – a remarkable achievement in the current inflationary environment and amid supply chain pressures.” In addition, 19.99 per cent shareholder in Sayona, Piedmont lithium (ASX:PLL), has signed an offtake agreement with LG Chem for a $75 million equity investment. Shares are trading 1.1 per cent lower at 21.8 cents
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1782.70 an ounce.
Iron ore is 0.9 per cent higher at US$124.75 a tonne.
Iron ore futures are pointing to a 1.2 per cent rise.
One Australian dollar is buying 68.63 US cents.
Image & Story Credit: finnewsnetwork.com.au