Following soft offshore leads, the Australian share market opened lower as a general weakness in all major sectors and a dismal earnings report from QANTAS to lead the market 0.5 per cent lower at noon.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 27.5 points down at 5,409.5. On the futures market the SPI is 43 points lower.
ABS Private New Capital Expenditure figures for December fell 5.2 per cent seasonally adjusted. Estimates for buildings and structures fell 3.5% while equipment, plant and machinery fell by 8.6%, both seasonally adjusted.
Perpetual Limited (ASX:PPT)
underlying net profit rose 22 per cent to $33.3m in the first half of Fiscal 2014 on revenue of $204.9M.
The company put the result down to $6m in cost savings so far this year, stronger share markets and new income from its takeover of The Trust Company. Perpetual has lifted its interim dividend to 80c, up by 60 per cent from 50c a year ago. Shares in Perpetual Limited are trading up 1.65 per cent at $50.52.
Product comparison website iSelect Limited (ASX:ISU)
has reported a net profit of $3.7 million in first half of Fiscal 2014, compared with $205,000 in the previous corresponding half, in line with guidance.
Revenue rose to $55.8 million in the half year, compared with $47.2 million a year earlier on the back of growth in its energy and health insurance provider selection services.
iSelect expects to lift full-year earnings and increase full-year net profit but is aware of risks to its business including potential changes to government policy on private health insurance.
The insurance comparison service declined to pay a dividend. The group had its IPO in June last year. Shares in iSelect are trading down 3.23 per cent at $1.20.
The best and worst performers
All major sectors are down this lunchtime. The sector with the smallest losses is Telcos losing 2 points to 1,776. Shares in Telecom Corp of New Zealand (ASX:TEL)
have risen 0.9 per cent and trading at $2.25. Shares in Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (ASX:SGT)
and Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS)
are both flat.
The worst performing sector is Utilities, falling 91 points to 5,701. Shares in Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX:SKI)
have fallen 4.47 per cent, trading at $1.71. Shares in AGL Energy Limited (ASX:AGK)
and Energy World Corporation Limited (ASX:EWC)
are also lower.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,329 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8929.