Midday: ASX dips as gold stocks slide

Market Reports

Despite positive leads the Australian share market has dipped 0.4 per cent at noon. Investors are remaining cautious ahead of the US monthly jobs report and Australian Federal Election tomorrow. 
 
The mining sector is weak amid broad based losses while the gold sector shed 4 per cent in early trade – weighed down by steep losses from gold producers Kingsgate Consolidated Limited (ASX:KCN), St. Barbara Limited (ASX:SBM), Silver Lake Resources Limited (ASX:SLR) and Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM)
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has fallen 21 points to 5,121. On the futures market the SPI is 21 points lower. 
 
Economic news
 
Australia’s construction industry continued to shrink last month despite record low interest rates. The Australian Industry Group and Housing Industry Association’s Performance of Construction Index eased 0.4 points to 43.7 in August, with a read below 50 indicating contraction. HIA chief economist Harley Dale says achieving healthy levels of non-mining related construction activity remains elusive against a backdrop of tight credit conditions and not enough focus on policy reform. 
 
Company news 
 
Shares in the Big Four Banks are trading lower after global credit ratings agency Moody's downgraded the subordinated debt ratings for the Basel II compliant securities of eight Australian banks including ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), National Australia Bank Limited (ASX:NAB) and Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
 
Shares in M2 Telecommunications Group Limited (ASX:MTU) have dipped 0.49 per cent after agreeing to provide a $5.5 million loan to an unlisted public company in which it holds a 32 per cent stake named Aggregato Global Limited . 
 
Shares in Singapore Telecommunications Limited (ASX:SGT) have fallen 1 per cent after one of its subsidiaries, mobile advertising company Amobee, acquired real-time bidding platform Gradient X. 
 
Shares in FKP Property Group (ASX:FKP) are trading 1.53 per cent higher after the property investor told the market last night it has sold a commercial property in Melbourne for $31.5 million as part of its strategy of becoming a pure retirement group. 
    
Best and worst performers
 
Most sectors are trading in the red: The sector with the smallest losses is real estate investment trusts trading flat at 997 points. Shares in Charter Hall Retail REIT (ASX:CQR) have risen 0.82 per cent and trading at $3.70. Shares in Westfield Group (ASX:WDC) and Stockland Limited (ASX:SGP) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is health care, falling 74 points to 13,815. Shares in Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX:RHC) have eased 1.62 per cent, trading at $36.34. Shares in Ansell Limited (ASX:ANN) and Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX:SHL) are also lower.
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is trading at $US1,371 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar is buying 91.37 US cents.