Midday: Aus shares in positive territory

Market Reports

The Australian share market is in positive territory at noon, defying negative economic data on business conditions. 

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 55 points higher at 4,961. On the futures market the SPI is 49 points higher. 
Economic news

NAB’s monthly business survey shows business conditions have slumped to their lowest levels since 2009, with manufacturing and retail sectors hardest hit.  Business conditions dropped from minus 3 to minus 7 points in March, the lowest since May 2009.
Company news
Shares in Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL) have almost halved after it walked away from its $1.3 billion takeover deal with China’s Hanlong Mining. The deal was terminated after Hanlong was unable to meet last week’s financial deadline for the takeover, almost two years after launching its offer. Shares in Sundance are down 42.86% to 12 cents.
BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX:BSL) will launch a $288 million capital raising through an issue of unsecured notes. The steel manufacturer says it will use the proceeds of the capital raising for general corporate purposes. Shares in Bluescope Steel are trading 3.94 per cent higher at $4.88.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Materials, gaining 166 points to 9,535. Shares in Arrium Limited (ASX:ARI) have risen 6.96 per cent and trading at $0.84. Shares in Alumina Limited (ASX:AWC)and Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO) are also stronger. 
The worst performing sector is Health Care, falling 73 points to 12,309. Shares in Sigma Pharmaceutical Limited (ASX:SIP) have fallen 2.55 per cent, trading at $0.77. Shares in ResMed Inc (ASX:RMD) and CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) are also lower. 

Tlou Energy Limited (ASX:TOU) started trading today. The southern-Africa focused gas explorer floated with an issue price of 50 cents, opened at 50 cents and is currently trading at 55 cents.    
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,573 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying just over $US1.04.