Midday: Ex-div dampen ASX on open

Market Reports

Big players such as BHP going ex dividend dampened the market on open, with shares just above water at the moment.
 
The market is 0.06 per cent up at noon.
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 8 points up at 5,666. On the futures market the SPI is 16 points higher.
 
Economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal the local economy grew a conservative 0.5 per cent in the June quarter, bringing the annual growth rate to the end of June to 3.1 per cent. This follows March’s annualised result of 3.5 per cent.
 
And the Australian Industry Group’s performance of services index rose 0.1 point to 49.4 in the past month... lifting closer to the neutral zone of 50.The performance has been attributed to good results in sales and new orders.
 
Company news
 
Noni B Limited says it is fully behind a 100 per cent takeover offer by Alceon Group Limited which values the company at $16.4 million. Alceon have offered 51 cents per share cash for Noni B which represents a 13 per cent premium to Noni B’s last trading price. The women’s clothing retailer underwent a strategic review after its share price plunged nearly 40 per cent earlier this year. The current offer is a at a 32 per cent premium to the price of 38.5 cents ahead of the announcement the company was undergoing a review. Shares in Noni B are up 8.89 per cent to 49 cents.
 
Atrum Coal  says its wholly owned subsidiary Kuro Coal has agreed to buy 70 per cent of the Elan Coking Coal Project in Alberta, Canada. The 23,000 hectare project is close to current operating coal mines and transport infrastructure including rail and ports. The deal will be a joint venture between Kuro and Elan and represents the final step prior to Kuro listing separately on the ASX in an initial public offering. Atrum Coal is spinning off the Kuro exploration venture so it can concentrate on its taking its world class Panorama Anthracite Project through to production. Shares in Atrum Coal are trading down 0.34 per cent to $1.48.
 
 Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is industrials, gaining 0.8 per cent to 4,309. Shares in Bradken have risen 4.84 per cent and trading at $0.22. Shares in Qantas and Recall are also stronger.
 
The worst performing sector is materials, falling 1 per cent to 9,975. Shares in Beadell Resources have fallen 4.59 per cent, and are trading at 47 cents. Shares in BC Iron and Medusa Mining are also lower.
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,267 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9275.