Midday: ASX trades almost flat

Market Reports


A surprise takeover bid for online travel company Wotif by Expedia sent the Australian share market higher at the open but stocks have since lost ground to trade 0.1 per cent lower at noon. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 2.5 points down at 5,523. On the futures market the SPI is 1 point lower. 
 
Economic news

The AIG/Housing Industry Association: Performance of Construction Index has lifted 5.1 points to 51.8 in June indicating the construction sector has entered growth territory for the first time this year. A figure above 50 shows an expansion in activity. It’s the highest reading since November 2013.
 
And ANZ job ads for June rose 4.3 per cent recovering most of the 5.6 per cent decline in May. Jobs ads have now increased 6 per cent since the start of the year indicating moderate employment growth. 
 
Company news
 
Uranium explorer Toro Energy (ASX:TOE) has reported that its latest drilling results show the highest ever recorded grades of uranium mineralisation at its Wiluna Uranium Project. The results were continuous across the drilling grid and represent a significant increase on previous reported results. The company expects further results from three other deposits to be released by September. Shares in Toro Energy are trading 6.9 per cent higher at $0.06. 
 
Nickel explorer Poseidon Nickel Limited (ASX:POS) has reached an agreement to purchase the Black Swan nickel project in Western Australia from Russian mining company Nor-ilsk. The deal includes a processing plant and open pit mine containing close to 186,000 tonnes of nickel metal. The plant was upgraded in 2006 and will be able to handle ores from Poseidon’s Mt Windarra nickel mine as well as the nickel on site. Poseidon says it can finance the purchase price from current resources. Shares in Poseidon Nickel are trading 18.56 per cent stronger at $0.12. 
  
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is real estate investment trusts, gaining 1.1 per cent to 1,083. Shares in Westfield Corp have risen 1.78 per cent and trading at $7.42. Shares in Goodman Group and Mirvac Group are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is utilities, falling 0.7 per cent to 5,958. Shares in Duet Group have fallen 1.04 per cent, trading at $2.39. Shares in AGL Energy and SP Ausnet are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,317 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 93.53 US cents.