It has been a lack lustre start to the trading session for the Australian share market, dropping at the open, but managing to regain a little momentum in the first two hours of trade, tracking practically flat or 0.13 per cent lower at noon. The Materials space is once again proving to be the biggest drag on the market following another slide in commodity prices overnight. This however is being offset by gains in Consumer Discretionaries and the Financials sectors with all of the big four banks in the black.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 7 points down at 5,753. On the futures market the SPI is 4 points higher.
APN News and Media Limited (ASX:APN) has addressed media speculation in The Australian newspaper, that it is sizing up a bid for QMS Media. The Australian reported that the speculation about the play for QMS comes following the $1.6 billion merger between billboard advertising giants APN Outdoor (ASX:APO) and OohMedia (ASX:OMH). APN News and Media has told the market it is not considering an acquisition of QMS. Shares in APN News and Media are trading down 0.4 per cent at $2.66.
Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN) has gone into a trading halt pending the release of an announcement by the uranium producer. Paladin says the announcement relates to the company’s Restructure Proposal. Shares will remain in a trading halt until the earlier of when the announcement is released to the market or Monday the 13th of March 2017. Shares in Paladin Energy last traded at $0.10.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Consumer Discretionaries, gaining 0.9 per cent to 2,097. Shares in Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) have risen 3.31 per cent and trading at $0.70. Shares in Ardent Leisure Group (ASX:AAD) and Tatts Group (ASX:TTS) are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Materials, falling 1.9 per cent to 9,715. Shares in Oz Minerals (ASX:OZL) have fallen 4.78 per cent, trading at $8.17. Shares in BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and Western Areas (ASX:WSA) are also lower.
Jiajiafu Modern Agriculture (ASX:JJF) started trading today. The organic vegetable producer floated at $0.30, opened at $0.29 and is currently trading at $0.29.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,208 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US0.7526.