Midday: Aus stocks fall at noon

Market Reports

The Australian sharemarket is weaker at noon, pulled down 0.37% by health care and energy stocks.
The S&P/ASX200 index has fallen 17 points to 4,591 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is 23 points lower.

Economic news

The Australian Industry Group/PriceWaterhouseCoopers performance of manufacturing index (PMI) gained 5.2 points to 52.9. It’s the highest since July last year and back above the 50 mark, the threshold between contraction and expansion.

The Housing Industry Association’s (HIA) new home sales report for May showed the number of new homes sold eased by 0.2 per cent.
Company news

Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX:RIO) and Australian Pacific Coal Ltd (ASX:AQC) have signed a letter of intent, setting out non-binding terms relating to the potential acquisition or joint venture of the Mt Hillalong project. Rio will take the financial and technical risk to examine the coal potential of the project. Shares in Rio Tinto have fallen 0.53 per cent at noon and are trading at $82.55.
Jetstar, a Qantas Airways Ltd (ASX:QAN) subsidiary is set to team up with Japan Airlines according to media reports. The venture will be capitalised at $116 - $232 million, with Japan Airlines and Jetstar holding a 30 per cent stake each. JAL took a variety of restructuring steps after filing for bankruptcy last year, including reducing a number of flight routes. Shares in Qantas have risen 0.27 per cent at noon and are trading at $1.845.


The best performing sector is Telco Services, advancing 14 points to 1,007. Shares in Hutchison Telecommunications Ltd have gained 5.88 per cent and trading at $0.072. Shares in Telecom Corp of New Zealand and Telstra Corporation Ltd are both stronger at noon.

The worst performing sector is Health Care easing 84 points to 8,468. Shares in Sonic Healthcare Ltd have dropped 2.56 per cent and trading at $12.54. Shares in Ramsay Health Care Ltd and Blackmores Ltd are also weaker at noon.
New Zealand

The NZSX50 is 17 points stronger at noon.
Taking a look at the top four stocks by turnover, Telecom Corporation of New Zealand is at the top of the list with stock up 2.24 per cent at $2.51 followed by Fletcher Building, Telstra and Westpac.

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,498 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US1.0689 cents. 

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