Downbeat midday: Aus shares down 0.71%

Market Reports

by David Chau

For the first hour of the trading day, the Australian share market was in freefall as investors engaged in broad-based selling. No sector is doing particularly well today – as even the best performing sector is in the red. The local market is tracking 0.71% lower at noon.

Also, the big banks’ shares have fallen ahead of the release of their financial results. NAB’s results are out this Thursday, while ANZ and Westpac will announce their results next week.

The S&P/ASX 200 is 39 points down at 5,392. On the futures market the SPI is 35 points lower.

Company news

Quickstep Holdings (ASX:QHL) and the Futuris Automotive Group are working together to develop a new structure for the backs of car seats, which will reduce their weight by up to 50%. Quickstep is a company which manufactures advanced carbon fibre composites (a material which is used to make car seats), while Futuris is a designer and supplier of seating and interior systems. Quickstep says the global seat structures market in the automotive sector is worth around US$16 billion per annum. Shares in Quickstep are trading up 14.29 per cent at 12 cents.

Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers (ASX:KPT) has sold 100 hectares of land, subdivided from its Lycurgus tree farm at Kangaroo Island, for over $222,000. The company exchanged contracts 1.5 years ago, back in March 2015. But after what the company says were “extensive delays”, the transaction was finally completed last Friday. The company says it hopes to eventually re-establish housing on many of its properties which used to be tree farms. Shares in Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers are trading up 1.48 per cent at $27.50.

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector (or the sector with the least losses) is Telcos, losing 0.41 per cent to 1,795. Shares in Telstra are down 0.3 per cent and are trading at $5.03. Shares in TPG and Vocus Communications are also down, but still better than many other stocks.

The worst performing sector is Healthcare, falling 1.7 per cent to 20,354. Shares in Healthscope have fallen by 5.46 per cent, and are trading at $2.25. Shares in Cochlear and Ramsay Health Care are also lower.

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,267 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7614.

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