Despite a positive start to the session, the Australian share market has tapered off 2 hours into trade and it’s now tracking flat or 0.05 per cent lower at lunch time.
While most sectors are mixed at the moment, the materials space is leading the losses with the big miners BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) in negative territory. Although, the utilities space is helping to offset some of those losses.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 3 points down at 5,648. On the futures market the SPI is 5 points lower.
Vicinity Centres (ASX:VCX) has entered into agreements to acquire the remaining 25% stake in DFO South Wharf and Homemaker Hub. The company will pay $141.25 million to Plenary Group to acquire these assets, and expects settlement to occur in April 2017. Shares in Vicinity Centres are trading up 0.35 per cent at $2.89.
The Federal Government has awarded Novogen Limited (ASX:NRT) a $3 million grant as part of a novel drug discovery program. The funds will be applied for the development of a next-generation anti-tropomyosin program, intended to provide potential new therapies for cancer. Shares in Novogen are trading up 1.19 per cent at 8.5 cents.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Utilities, gaining 1.6 per cent to 8,105. Shares in AGL Energy have risen 2.22 per cent and trading at $23.51. Shares in Infigen Energy and Duet Group are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Materials, falling 1 per cent to 10,052. Shares in Orocobre have fallen 2.55 per cent, trading at $3.82. Shares in Fortescue Metals and CSR are also lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,240 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7628.