After a sell-off on Wall Street on the back of weaker than expected earnings and fears relating to the upcoming US presidential election, the Australian share market has fallen into the red in the first two hours of trade and is tracking 0.7 per cent lower at noon. The materials sector along with financials have been hit the hardest with losses in all of the big four banks.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 39 points down at 5,441. On the futures market the SPI is 43 points lower.
According to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics engineering construction has continued to fall for the June quarter by 9.9 per cent. However there has been an increase of 1.2 per cent in building activity for the quarter, with the biggest gain in the non-residential space.
Slater and Gordon Limited (ASX:SGH) has acknowledged media reports that Maurice Blackburn is intending to file a $250 million class action today on behalf of SGH shareholders. Aggrieved SGH shareholders are believed to be filing the action after they incurred financial loss when Slater and Gordon’s shares plummeted from around $8.00 to a low of 25 cents in the past 18 months. The law firm says so far it is yet to be served with a class action claim and will inform the market if it does receive one. Shares in Slater and Gordon are trading down 4.76 per cent at $0.40.
Lithium Power International Limited (ASX:LPI) has gone into a trading halt pending the release of an announcement by the company. The lithium explorer says the announcement relates to a material corporate transaction and associated capital raising. LPI will remain in a halt until Friday at the latest. Shares in Lithium Power International last traded at $0.47.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is REITs, gaining 0.37 per cent to 1,369. Shares in SCA Property Group have risen 1.84 per cent and trading at $2.21. Shares in Stockland and Goodman Group are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Materials, falling 2.2 per cent to 9,015. Shares in Orocobre have fallen 4.85 per cent, trading at $3.14. Shares in Iluka Resources and Alumina are also lower.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,253 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7559.