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ASX down 0.89% at noon ahead of RBA decision

Australian shares are declining at midday, with mining and tech stocks leading the downturn, ahead of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s final rate decision for the year. Material sector has been particularly affected, down by 1.8%, with major iron ore companies like BHP, Rio Tinto, and Fortescue experiencing more than a 1% drop, along with declines in gold and lithium stocks, reflecting a broader decrease in commodity prices.

As of noon, the S&P/ASX 200 index is down by 0.89% at 7,061 points.

The SPI futures are pointing to a fall of 72 points.

Best and worst performers

The best-performing sector is Utilities, up 0.59 per cent. The worst-performing sector is Materials, down 1.84 per cent.

The best-performing large cap is Origin Energy (ASX:ORG), trading 2.16 per cent higher at $8.03. It is followed by shares in Insurance Australia Group (ASX:IAG) and Cochlear (ASX:COH).

The worst-performing large cap is Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS), trading 4.82 per cent lower at $3.36. It is followed by shares in Mercury NZ (ASX:MCY) and Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST).

Asian news

Asia-Pacific markets fell across the board as investors assessed a slew of economic data from across the region.

South Korea’s overall inflation rate in November fell to 3.3%, compared with 3.7% expected by a Reuters poll.

The inflation rate for Japan’s capital, Tokyo, came in at 2.6%, down from the 3.3% in October. Tokyo’s inflation figures are widely considered to be a leading indicator of national trends.

Caixin and S&P Global will also release China’s service purchasing managers’ index today, while private PMI readings will also be out from Hong Kong and India.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 was down 0.67%, while the Topix was also marginally lower.

South Korea’s Kospi shed 0.55% and the small-cap Kosdaq lost 0.62%.

In contrast, futures for Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index stood at 16,693, pointing to a slightly stronger open compared with the HSI’s close of 16,646.05.

Commodities and the dollar

Gold is trading at US$1782.70 an ounce.

Iron ore is 1.7 per cent lower at US$131.05 a tonne.

Iron ore futures are pointing to a 0.7 per cent fall.

One Australian dollar is buying 66.20 US cents.

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