Following weak leads from Wall Street on the back of renewed US Presidential jitters, Australian investors are reducing their positions this morning, resulting in the local bourse falling 0.76 per cent at noon. The healthcare space is leading the losses this session with the likes of pharma giant CSL losing more than 2 per cent and Resmed more than 3 per cent.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 42 points down at 5,249. On the futures market the SPI is 40 points lower.
Building approvals have plunged 8.7 per cent in September according to latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Economists had forecasted a 3 per cent fall. Approvals for private sector apartment blocks and townhouses were down more than 16 per cent.
Virgin Australia Holdings Limited (ASX:VAH) has reported an underlying loss before tax of $3.6 million in the first quarter of FY17, a fall of more than $12 million on the previous corresponding period. The airline says the loss increase could be attributed to subdued trading conditions during the quarter, particularly in the domestic market. The groups statutory loss for the quarter after tax was $34.6 million.
Shares in Virgin Australia are trading down 2.08 per cent at $0.24.
CSR Limited (ASX:CSR) has released its half year results for the period ended 30 September 2016, reporting an 8 per cent increase in revenue to $1.2 billion. The building products company also reported a 12 per cent increase in net profit after tax to $103.1 million. CSR declared a half year dividend of 13 cents which is a 13 per cent increase on the previous half. Shares in CSR are trading up 5.97 per cent at $3.81.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Utilities, gaining 0.5 per cent to 7,153. Shares in AGL Energy have risen 1.52 per cent and trading at $19.42. Shares in Duet Group are stronger but Spark Infrastructure is slightly lower.
The worst performing sector is Healthcare, falling 1.7 per cent to 19,408. Shares in Mayne Pharma have fallen 4.14 per cent, trading at $1.56. Shares in Resmed and Virtus Health are also lower.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,288 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7648.