Midday: ASX little changed at noon

Market Reports


Following soft leads from overseas markets, the Australian share market opened slightly lower and is trading little changed at noon.  
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 6 points down at 5,513. On the futures market the SPI is 7 points lower. 
 
Company news
 
Fairfax Media Limited(ASX:FXJ) and APN News & Media Limited (ASX, NXS:APN) have confirmed a printing deal will go ahead in New Zealand. The two rival companies have come to an arrangement whereby print work currently performed at Fairfax’s Auckland and Hamilton print sites would move to APN’s state of the art Ellerslie print site. The deal allows APN to utilise spare capacity at the site which was fully upgraded last year. Benefits for Fairfax include boosting their print capacity in the North Island market without significant capital investment. Shares in Fairfax are trading 0.27 per cent higher at $0.93. 
 
Specialised pharmaceutical company Pharmaxis Limited (ASX:PXS) has emerged from a trading halt to advise that it has received notice from its financier it has breached their agreement. Novaquest say that Pharmaxis has not worked hard enough to gain reimbursement status for key product Bronchitol from key European payers and will be in default on August 3. Pharmaxis strongly rejects the allegations and says the full $40 million investment by NovaQuest is vital to their business plan. At this stage the first $5million form a second tranche of $20 million due in September may not occur as expected. Pharmaxis also announced two long awaited pre-clinical partnering projects and said it is close to signing a partnering agreement for Bronchitol in the US which should help matter. The two company remain in discussion with more news to come.  Shares in Pharmaxis are trading 18.18 per cent softer at $0.06. 
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is health, gaining 0.4 per cent to 14,406. Shares in Sirtex Medical have risen 2.82 per cent and are trading at $19.32. Shares in Sonic Healthcare and Cochlear are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is energy, falling 0.4 per cent to 14,477. Shares in Paladin Energy have fallen 2.14 per cent, trading at $0.34. Shares DrillSearch and Woodside are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,319 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 93.87 US cents.