Midday: ASX tumbles as gold miners tank

Market Reports

Retreating from five year highs the Australian share market tumbled 0.5 per cent at open. Following Wall Street’s lead local stocks slipped on continued speculation over when the US Federal Reserve will start to wind back its economic stimulus program.   
 
Ahead of a Fed meeting next week, falling jobless claims overnight fuelled expectations tapering will start soon. The price of gold continued to head south and has hit the local gold miners today as the broader mining sector also struggles with weaker commodity prices.    
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has retreated 24.5 points to 5,218. On the futures market the SPI is 17 points lower. 
 
Company news
 
Shares in Virgin Australia Holdings Limited (ASX:VAH) have lifted 1.12 per cent on news Etihad Airways has crept above Richard Branson’s Virgin Group to become the carrier’s third-biggest shareholder with a 13.4 per cent stake. 
 
Shares in Energy Resources of Australia Limited (ASX:ERA) have firmed 0.19 per cent after the Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) controlled uranium producer appointed Andrea Sutton as its CEO and Managing Director to replace Rob Atkinson from September 23.  
 
Shares in Finbar Group Limited (ASX:FRI) have dipped 0.67 per cent despite the West Australian focussed apartment developer revealing its $89 million St Marks and Knightsgate Projects have reached practical completion with revenue expected to significantly contribute to its first half earnings. 
 
Shares in Mint Wireless Limited (ASX:MNW) have surged 35 per cent after the mobile payment solutions provider exited a trading halt to announce it has completed a $3 million share placement and signed on Bank of New Zealand as its first customer in the country.  
 
Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector is health care gaining 89.5 points to 13,956. Shares in Acrux Limited (ASX:ACR) have risen 1.82 per cent and trading at $3.36. Shares in CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) and Ansell Limited (ASX:ANN) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is materials, falling 105 points to 980. Shares in Medusa Mining Limited (ASX:MML) have dropped 6.71 per cent, trading at $2.16. Shares in Silver Lake Resources Limited (ASX:SLR) and Kingsgate Consolidated Limited (ASX:KCN) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is trading at $US1,327 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 92.63 US cents.