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ASX down 0.21% at noon with a slight uptick in the unemployment rate

Australian employment increased by 55,000 in October, with a slight uptick in the unemployment rate to 3.7%. This is significant because it impacts the Reserve Bank’s efforts to control inflation, and the bank has adjusted its unemployment rate forecast to 3.8% by December, following a recent interest rate hike to 4.35%.

At noon, the S&P/ASX 200 is 0.21 per cent lower at 7,090.70.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 7 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Utilities, up 0.79 per cent. The worst-performing sector is REITs, down 0.93 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Aristocrat Leisure (ASX:ALL), trading 3.09 per cent higher at $40.70. It is followed by shares in Origin Energy (ASX:ORG) and QBE Insurance Group (ASX:QBE).

The worst-performing large cap is TPG Telecom (ASX:TPG), trading 3.22 per cent lower at $4.655. It is followed by shares in Sonic Healthcare (ASX:SHL) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN).

Asian news

Asia-Pacific markets geared up for a mixed session Thursday as investors digested high-level discussions between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, while it was left to be seen if optimism about further signs of cooling U.S. inflation would carry through the day.

Biden and Xi met Wednesday outside of San Francisco in their first face-to-face encounter in a year. The talks were on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference and were a part of efforts between the U.S. and China to boost high-level communication amid continued tensions.

Another reading on U.S. inflation showed October’s producer price index, which measures wholesale prices, fell by 0.5% to mark its biggest monthly drop since April 2020.

Separately, the South Korea stock market was set to open an hour later than usual, at 10 a.m. South Korea time. The delayed open is intended to ease rush-hour traffic as college entrance exams were administrated across the country.  

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1963.30 an ounce.

Iron ore is 1.4 per cent higher at US$132.00 a tonne.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 2.9 per cent fall.

One Australian dollar is buying 65.14 US cents.

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