Midday: ASX dragged lower by China

Market Reports

Following mixed leads and disappointing figures from China, the Australian share market opened sharply lower and is 0.62 per cent down at noon. The Aussie dollar is also facing some pressure and could drop below 90 US cents. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 36 points down at 5,495. On the futures market the SPI is 42 points lower. 
 
Economic news

The ABS has reported a drop in new car sales for August. New motor vehicle sales dipped a seasonally adjusted 1.8 per cent bringing total sales down 3.5 per cent on the same period last year. 
 
Company news
 
Elders Limited (ASX:ELD) has emerged from a trading halt announcing a widely anticipated $57 million equity raising. The deal consists of a $10.2 million institutional placement and a fully underwriten 3 for 5 traditional, non-renounceable, entitlement offer of $47 million. The proceeds will be used to pay down debt. A new debt platform and banking facilities will allow Elders to pursue their strategy to grow the business. Elders CEO Mark Allison says ‘Our strengthened financial position enables us to continue our turnaround and work towards our strategic target of achieving $60 million EBIT and 20 per cent return on capital by 2017. Elders said EBIT for FY14 is in a range of $23 million to $28 million, reflecting a turnaround of up to $77 million on FY13. Shares in Elders are trading 15.48 per cent stronger at $0.24. 
 
Sundance Resources Limited (ASX:SDL) has appointed former CEO of Leighton Holdings, Wal King as Chairman of the Board. Mr King has been Non-Executive Deputy Chairman since May this year and will be replacing current Chairman George Jones. Mr Jones has been in the position since 2006, resigning for health reasons in 2009. He resumed Chairmanship in 2010 following a tragic incident in which a plane carrying the company’s entire board crashed in the Republic of Congo. Sundance Resources is now in a position to begin construction at its Mbalam-Nabeba iron ore project in Africa. Sundance believes Mr King’s experience in engineering and construction will prove invaluable as the company transitions from exploration to development. Shares in Sundance are trading 2.5 per cent lower at $0.08. 
 
Best and worst perfomers

The best performing sector is materials, gaining 0.3 per cent to 9,816. Shares in Evolution Mining have risen 8.09 per cent and are trading at $0.73. Shares in Medusa Mining and Resolute Mining are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is real estate investment trusts, falling 2.1 per cent to 1,094. Shares in SCA Property Group have fallen 2.94 per cent, trading at $1.73. Shares in Westfield and Mirvac Group are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,232 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 90.12 US cents.