Midday: Aus shares pull back from highs

Market Reports

Taking a breather from this week’s gains the Australian share market has pulled back 0.4 cent in morning trade. The softness comes after Wall Street also slipped from all-time highs following the Federal Reserve’s decision to keep stimulating the American economy.
 
Across the sectors the miners have back-peddled from yesterday’s rally and weakness in energy and health stocks is also dragging the broader bourse down. 
 
Figures 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has shed 18 points and is sitting at 5,277. On the futures market the SPI is 25 points lower. 
 
Economic news
 
A gauge on spending in Australia has shown consumers are still wary about opening their wallets. Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (ASX:CBA) Business Sales Indicator reports sales rose 3 per cent in August after falling 1.9 per cent the month before. In trend terms spending posted its slowest growth rate in 11 months, rising just 0.3 per cent. CommSec chief economist Craig James expects to see a pick-up in spending over the medium term with the federal election behind us.
 
Company news
 
Shares in Sydney Airport Limited (ASX:SYD) have eased 0.88 per cent despite the airport owner and operator posting a rise in passenger growth last month, driven by more international visitors.  
 
Shares in Boart Longyear Limited (ASX:BLY) have been placed in a trading halt as the drilling services provider prepares an announcement to address media speculation on its debt offering.
 
Shares in Discovery Metals Limited (ASX:DML) have surged 13.04 per cent after the copper producer revealed it has agreed to a $US108 million recapitalisation proposal with Blumont Group after the market closed yesterday.  
 
Shares in Cellmid Limited (ASX:CDY) have gained 7.14 per cent after the biotechnology company inked a major Japanese distribution deal to supply its FGF-5 inhibitor hair growth lotions. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector is consumer staples gaining 14 points to 9,958. Shares in Goodman Fielder Limited (ASX:GFF) have risen 1.72 per cent and trading at $0.74. Shares in Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) and Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is health care, falling 131 points to 13,665.5. Shares in Cochlear Limited (ASX:COH) have fallen 2.16 per cent, trading at $59.29. Shares in Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX:RHC) and Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX:SHL) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is trading at $US1,363 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar is buying 94.54 US cents.