Midday: ASX slips, tech continues slide

Market Reports

The Australian share market slipped at open and is trading 0.4 per cent down at noon. The week has gotten off to a soft start after Wall Street extended its weekly fall on Friday. Most major sectors are in negative territory except for the telco sector defying the trend. Tech stocks have continued to slide after the tech-heavy Nasdaq index sank 1.3 per cent on Friday and 3.1 per cent over last week. The retailing and health sectors have also moved lower at noon while the gold sector is steady. 
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has dropped 24 points and is sitting at 5,405. On the futures market the SPI is 22 points lower. 
 
Company news
 
Aquila Resources Limited (ASX:AQA) says it has resolved its differences with Vale in order to complete the construction of Eagle Downs Hard Coking Coal Project. The coal producer says both companies have agreed to settle and release each other from all legal proceedings and claims in regards to the joint venture. Aquila advises both companies will bear their own legal costs and settlement is unconditional and effective immediately. Shares in Aquila Resources have firmed 0.55 per cent to $2.73. 
 
Equity Trustees Limited (ASX:EQT) has raised $83.5 million and moved a step closer to completing its $150 million purchase of ANZ Trustees. The financial services group says it completed the placement and institutional entitlement offer with very strong investor support resulting in twenty new institutional investors joining its share register. The company announced the acquisition last week which will also see Equity Trustees and ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) enter into an exclusive long term referral relationship. Equity Trustees remains in a trading halt, having last traded at $22.58. 
  
Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector is telco services gaining 8 points to 1,771. Shares in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand (ASX:TEL) have risen 0.83 per cent and trading at $2.42. Shares in Singapore Telecommunications Limited (ASX:SGT) and Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is consumer discretionary, falling 15 points to 1,814. Shares in Breville Group Limited (ASX:BRG) have eased 3.11 per cent, trading at $8.71. Shares in G8 Education Limited (ASX:GEM) and Ainsworth Game Technology Limited (ASX:AGI) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is trading at $US1,327 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9398.