Midday: ASX dragged lower by global sentiment

Market Reports

Following more negative sentiment in overseas markets, the Australian share market headed lower this morning and is 0.38 per cent down at noon. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 25 points down at 5,531. On the futures market the SPI is 22 points lower. 
 
Economic news

The TD Securities- Melbourne Institute survey showed that consumer prices increased 0.2 per cent in July following a flat result in June. The result was lower than expected given that July usually sees seasonal increases in the prices of rates and utilities. Price rises for electricity, gas and rates were offset by falls in water, clothing and footwear and alcohol and tobacco.The result has slowed the annual pace of inflation from 3 per cent in June to 2.6 per cent in July. 
 
And the ANZ jobs advertisement survey showed total job ads lifted 0.3 per cent in July after an increase of 4.4 per cent in June. Job advertisements are now up 4.2 per cent on the same time last year. Labour demand has now lifted consistently over the past six months however the upswing is still quite moderate. 
 
Company news
 
Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI) says John Holland has been selected as its preferred contractor for the Ravenhall Prison in Melbourne. The deal involves the design and construction as well 25 years of operation and maintenance of a medium security facility with capacity for 1000 male prisoners as well as a Statewide Services Building. Leighton Holdings CEO Marcelino Fernandez Verdes says that the engineering and construction market will see more opportunities in the next five years thanks to increased government funding and population growth. Mr Verdes said “The Leighton Group’s 12 month tender pipeline is now significantly larger than the equivalent pipeline six months ago”. Construction on the Ravenhall Prison is expected to commence in early 2015 with completion scheduled for late 2017. Shares in Leighton Holdings are trading 0.37 per cent lower at $21.81. 
 
Poseidon Nickel Limited (ASX:POS) says its acquisition of the Black Swan project has more than doubled its total resource base to 330,000 tonnes of nickel. Poseidon had to have the project re-estimated under the JORC 2012 code and engaged Golder Associates to carry out the resource estimation. The Black Swan project located near Kalgoorlie, Western Australia also came with a processing plant. The plant is capable of processing ore from Poseidon’s Mount Windarra project located around 300km from the Black Swan project. This greatly reduces the capital expenditure needed for Poseidon to become a nickel producer. Poseidon has already signed engineering contracts to make the plant operational and is moving to restart the plant as soon as possible. Shares in Poseidon Nickel have firmed 2.33 per cent to $0.22.  

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is real estate investment trusts, gaining 0.2 per cent to 1,106. Shares in Scentre Group have risen 1.05 per cent and are trading at $3.37. Shares in CFS Retail Trust and Federation Centres are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is energy, falling 0.9 per cent to 14,333. Shares in Horizon Oil have fallen 7.43 per cent, trading at $0.34. Shares in AWE Limited and Oil Search are also lower. 
 
IPOs

Duketon Mining Limited (ASX:DKM) started trading today. The mining exploration company floated with an issue price of $0.20, opened at $0.24 and is currently trading at $0.25.    
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,293 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 93.24US cents.