Following weak leads from Wall Street on the back of Fed rate hike fears, the Australian share market opened in negative territory and is currently tracking 0.19 per cent lower at noon. The financials space is proving to be the biggest drag on the market so far; with losses across all four big banks; NAB being the worst shedding around 2 per cent. Other sectors seem to be struggling for direction; the materials space is painting a bit of a mixed picture with losses in Rio Tinto, but BHP is making some small gains of around 0.7 per cent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 10 points lower at 5,386. On the futures market the SPI is down 5 points.
Company news Asciano Limited (ASX:AIO) has announced an update to the expected timetable for its Scheme of Arrangement. The company says due to the Federal government being in care-taker mode before the Federal election in July, FIRB has requested an extension of decision timing with respect to the scheme. Asciano’s board of directors recommends shareholders vote in favour of the Scheme in absence of any superior proposal. Shares in Asciano are trading steady at $8.88.
Mantra Group Limited (ASX:MTR)
says it has entered into an agreement to acquire ALM Management Services, which operates the Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu for a purchase price of US$52.5 million. Mantra is also launching a placement of around 27 million shares to raise around $100 million to fund the Hawaiian acquisition as well as provide funding for further pipeline opportunities. Shares in Mantra Group are on a trading halt, and last traded at $4.01.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Energy, gaining almost 1 per cent to 8,342. Shares in Beach Energy have risen 4.2 per cent and trading at $0.68. Shares in Worley Parsons and Origin Energy are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Consumer Discretionary, falling 1.08 per cent to 2,052. Shares in JB Hi-Fi have fallen 3.03 per cent, trading at $23.04. Shares in Flight Centre and GUD Holdings are also lower.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,279 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7290.