Midday: ASX retreats before China GDP

Market Reports

Following a soft lead from Wall Street the Australian share market opened lower and has retreated further ahead of China’s growth figures due this afternoon. Analysts are tipping the annual growth rate for the world’s second largest economy will have slowed to about 7.6 per cent at the end of 2013. 
 
While most major sectors are trading in the red ahead of the announcement the mining sector is showing resilience and remaining just slightly higher. The gold sub-index is strong with a 5 per cent gain on the back of a rise in the gold price and record output results from Silver Lake Resources Limited (ASX:SLR)
 
The Australian dollar remains weak, still buying under $0.88 and pulling back further this morning. 
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has retreated 36.6 points and is sitting at 5,269. On the futures market the SPI is 38 points lower. 
 
Economic news
 
TD Securities has cautioned its latest inflation report needs to be treated with a little caution as December is a seasonally strong month for the gauge. TD Securities and the Melbourne Institute’s Monthly Inflation Gauge gained 0.7 per cent in December 2013 following a gain of 0.2 per cent the month before. Over the 2013 calendar year the annual pace came in at 2.7 per cent, up from 2.4 per cent the month before. The Reserve Bank of Australia's long-term target remains between 2 to 3 per cent.
 
Midday market movers 
 
Shares in Silver Lake Resources Limited (ASX:SLR) have shot up to the best performer after reporting record quarterly production for the last three months of 2013. The gold miner has also boosted its gold guidance and reduced its debt from $20 million to $8 million. 
 
Shares in Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN) have lifted 3.57 per cent after the uranium miner inked a $US190 million deal to sell a 25 per cent joint-venture equity stake in its Langer Heinrich mine to a Chinese nuclear utility. 
 
Shares in Aviva Corporation Limited (ASX:AVA) have climbed 25 per cent after the resource development company announced it has entered into a conditional agreement to buy a financial advice, sales and service cloud platform called Decimal Group.
 
Shares in Donaco International Limited (ASX:DNA) have fallen 5.64 per cent after advising the soft opening of its flagship business, the Lao Cai International Hotel in Vietnam, will be delayed from early March to early May 2014. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
Most major sectors have dropped except for materials, gaining 3.5 points to 10,275. Shares in Silver Lake Resources Limited (ASX:SLR) have risen 12.87 per cent and trading at $0.65. Shares in Evolution (ASX:EVN) and Resolute Mining Limited (ASX:RSG) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is energy, falling 139 points to 13,437. Shares in Aquila Resources Limited (ASX:AQA) have eased 4.94 per cent, trading at $2.31. Shares in Karoon Gas Australia Limited (ASX:KAR) and Oil Search Limited (ASX:OSH) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar
 
The price of gold has continued to rise this morning after a bounce overnight and is buying $US1,257 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar has continued to weaken this morning and is buying $US0.8766.