Midday: ASX financial falls offset mining gains

Market Reports

Despite positive leads the Australian share market slipped at open and is 0.5 per cent down at noon. Mining and energy sectors have been buoyed by higher commodity prices while financials have dropped. On the company front Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited (ASX:BEN) is trading lower after inking a deal with four credit unions to create a new banking alliance. Agribusiness Elders Limited (ASX:ELD) has gained 5 per cent after posting a turnaround full year profit on the back of higher earnings and cost cutting.  
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has slipped 27 points to 5,427. On the futures market the SPI is 32 points lower. 
 
Company news
 
Virgin Australia Holdings Limited’s (ASX:VAH) frequent flyer program has entered into a new partnership with fuel retailer BP. Velocity Frequent Flyer and BP will team up to deliver a number of new benefits to Australians on everyday fuel and retail spend. Just last month Virgin inked a deal to sell a 35 per cent stake in the program to investment firm and fund manager Affinity Equity. Shares in Virgin Australia have risen 1.92 per cent to $0.40 at noon. 
 
Shares in Cellmid Limited (ASX:CDY) have risen after inking a deal with global animal health company Zoetis. The deal is for the evaluation and option to license one of Cellmid’s anti-midkine antibodies for therapeutic use in companion animals. The agreement includes upfront and exclusivity payments until such time as the option to license is exercised by Cellmid’s partner. Shares in Cellmid have risen 7.69 per cent to $0.03 at noon. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector is materials, gaining 0.5 per cent to 9,202. Shares in Atlas Iron Limited (ASX:AGO) have risen 7.32 per cent and trading at $0.22. Shares in Resolute Mining Limited (ASX:RSG) and Regis Resources Limited (ASX:RRL) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is financials excluding real estate investment trusts, falling 0.8 per cent to 7,146. Shares in Bank of Queensland Limited (ASX:BOQ) have dropped 1.21 per cent, trading at $12.23. Shares in ANZ Banking Group (ASX:ANZ) and ASX Limited (ASX:ASX) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is buying $US1,184 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8763.