Following soft leads, the Australian share market opened lower and tumbled more than 1 per cent as concerns for Spain’s debt crisis continues to plague the market.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 54 points down at 4,145. On the futures market the SPI is 60 points lower.
Private-sector budget forecaster Deloitte Access Economics has forecast Australia’s mining boom will slow and not last beyond another two years due to a drop in coal and iron ore prices and says could threaten the government’s forecast for a budget surplus.
Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) has posted 4.7 per cent growth in its fourth quarter total group sales. The supermarket giant generated sales of $56.7 billion beating expectations. CEO Grant O’Brien says the result is underpinned by continued growth in customer numbers and market share. Rival Wesfarmers is due to release its sales figures on Thursday and is expected to surpass Woolies sales, which it has done for 12 consecutive quarters. Shares in Woolworths are trading up 1.09 per cent at $27.92.
DuluxGroup Limited (ASX:DLX) has increased its takeover offer for Alesco Corporation Limited (ASX:ALS) to $2.05 a share as well as offering Alesco shareholders up to $0.18 per share in franking credits attached to dividends declared by Alesco. The revised proposal brings the total value of up to $2.23 per share. Dulux originally offered $2.00 a share to Alesco shareholders, when it launched its takeover bid in May. The paint maker declared the revised offer is its best and final offer, provided no competing proposal emerges. Shares in DuluxGroup are trading steady at $3.05.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Consumer Staples gaining 16 points to 8,057. Shares in Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) have risen 1.09 per cent and trading at $27.92. Shares in Metcash was slightly higher whilst Wesfarmers was slightly lower.
The worst performing sector is Materials, falling 276 points to 9,011. Shares in Intrepid Mines Limited (ASX:IAU) have fallen 52.25 per cent, trading at $0.27. Shares in Lynas Corporation and Fortescue Metals are also lower.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,581 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US1.03.