The major banks were responsible for lifting the market at 12.12pm (AEDT) on Wednesday.
The ANZ Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac all rose by more than 1 per cent and the Commonwealth Bank was also higher, albeit by just under half a per cent.
Energy and materials continued to sit in the red in the wake of weak Chinese economic data and lower commodity prices, however not as low as earlier on Wednesday.
Origin Energy and Woodside Petroleum both down more than two per cent and mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto were down more than 3 per cent.
At 8.33am (AEDT) on Wednesday, the share price index was down 25 points at 5,086.
Locally, in economic news on Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ housing finance data for January is due out as is the Westpac/Melbourne Institute Survey of Consumer Sentiment.
The two-day Global Iron Ore and Steel Forecast conference wraps up in Perth.
Meanwhile, the Federal Court has a case management conference in Foxtel’s anti-piracy legal action is on in Sydney.
In equities news, CUA is expected to release half year results.
NEW YORK – Wall Street is lower, as oil prices slip and weak Chinese data rekindles fears of a global economic slowdown led by the world’s second-biggest economy.
China’s February trade performance was far worse than economists had expected, with exports tumbling the most in over six years. Plus, US crude fell nearly three per cent, while Brent was off more than two per cent, as major oil producers sparred over a potential output freeze.
“The data this morning has dampened sentiment more so than anything else at this point in terms of confirming some of the concerns regarding growth in China,” said Ryan Larson, head of US equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management in Chicago.
“Equities, at least in the United States, are somewhat taking their cues from oil pulling back slightly,” Larson said.
Chevron is cutting its spending budget by nearly 40 per cent for 2017 and 2018 as it deals with plunging oil prices.
LONDON – Britain’s top stock market index fell as big mining companies came under pressure after a report showed exports had fallen in China, the world’s biggest consumer of metals.
Chinese exports fell in February by the most in more than six years, data showed on Tuesday, just days after world leaders sought to reassure investors that the outlook for China’s economy is solid.
“Global markets have been rattled by the sharp decline in China’s exports, which reinforced the lingering concerns over the slowing pace of growth in the world’s second-largest economy,” FXTM research analyst Lukman Otunuga said.
Mining stocks were particularly weak.
If Britain left the European Union without securing full access to the single market, banks would probably move some businesses to the remainder of the bloc, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney says.
HONG KONG – Global stock markets have fallen after another batch of weak data from China reinforced persistent concerns about a possible slowdown in the global economy.
China’s February trade performance was far worse than economists expected, with exports tumbling the most in over six years, days after top leaders sought to reassure investors about the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy.
“At the moment we’re in a bear stock market. Everyone’s looking for an excuse to sell out, and the reason today for a lot of investors is the weak China data,” said Andreas Clenow, hedge fund principal and trader at ACIES Asset Management.
BRUSSELS – European Union countries will exchange information on the tax affairs of multinational companies after EU finance ministers backed new rules aimed at stopping big companies avoiding paying their fair share into government coffers.
Oil prices have pulled back from recent strong gains.
Weighing on oil prices, Kuwait said it would agree to an output freeze only if all major producers took part.
Brent crude futures were down $US1.42, or 3.48 per cent, at $US39.42 a barrel, at 0804 Wednesday AEDT.
WTI, or US, crude futures were down $US1.66, or 4.38 per cent, at $US36.24.
The declines came a day after Brent and US crude settled at their highest levels since December.
Gold has turned lower, falling below last week’s 13-month high on profit-taking as the market’s recent rally appeared to lose momentum ahead of the next US Federal Reserve meeting.
Bullion prices rose, and even neared last week’s high of $US1,279.60 an ounce, earlier on support from weakness in the US dollar and global shares after Chinese trade data fuelled concerns about the state of worldwide demand.
“It looks like the market is a bit more open to the idea that the Fed will tighten policy this year and that likely has convinced some players that they should take some money off the table,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategy for TD Securities in Toronto.
Copper prices have tumbled, on course for their biggest daily loss in four months as disappointing trade numbers from top consumer China led funds to reverse their bets on higher prices.
Other base metals also fell, a move mirrored by a fall in mining stocks, which dragged the STOXX Europe 600 Basic Resources index down nine per cent.
“This is a market that is rapidly outpacing fundamentals,” said Barclays commodities analyst Dane Davis.
“The pullback is a recognition of the fact that in China there is a lot of rhetoric about a stimulus package.”
ASX stocks to watch Wednesday, March 9
BHP – BHP BILLITON
FMG – FORTESCUE METALS GROUP
RIO – RIO TINTO
Shares in the mining giants could remain in the spotlight, as the price of iron ore remains above the $US60 mark.
ORG – ORIGIN ENERGY
STO – SANTOS
Energy companies may see their shares fall with the price of oil suffering another hit after Kuwait said it’d only agree to an output freeze if other producers also cut production.
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