Midday: Aus shares sink on China risk

Market Reports


Australian shares have followed US and Asian markets lower to be 0.82 per cent down at noon. 
 
A near-two per cent devaluation in the Chinese currency sent US oil prices to their lowest level in six years as investors digest the more widespread implications of a lower yuan. 
 
Economic news

The Westpac/Melbourne Institute index of consumer sentiment showed as surprise jump to 99.5, up from 92.2 in July. The 7.8 per cent rise is still below the 100 number that separates positive from negative. Strengthening house prices and less concern about fallout from Greece and China seem to be behind the advance. 
 
Company news
 
Computershare Limited (ASX:CPU) disappointed the market with a 39 per cent drop in net profit and warnings the stronger US dollar will impact business into 2016. The outlook is for a 7.5 per cent drop in earnings per share with lower yields on cash holdings also adding to the bleak outlook.
Shares in Computershare plunged 9.4 per cent to $10.60.  
 
Echo Entertainment Group Limited (ASX:EGP) says strong performance at Sydney’s Star Casino helped drive a 52 per cent jump in normalised net profit. The casino operator announced a total dividend of 11 cents per share up 37.5 per cent. The company also highlighted its win to help develop the new Queens Wharf Brisbane project. Shares in Echo Entertainment have slipped 2.55 per cent to $4.97. 
 
Best and worst perfomance

The best performing sector is real estate investment trusts, gaining 0.35 per cent to 1,276. Shares in Growthpoint have risen 0.77 per cent and are trading at $3.29. Shares in Goodman Group and GPT Group are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is materials, falling 2.9 per cent to 8,254. Shares in Fortescue Metals Group have fallen 9 per cent, trading at $1.77. Shares in Sandfire Resources and Rio Tinto are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,106 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 72.33 US cents.