Midday: Aus shares continue decline

Market Reports

Plunging global oil prices are sending energy stocks into sharp retreat with the Australian share market opening lower and trading 0.93 per cent down at noon. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 49 points down at 5,264. On the futures market the SPI is 66 points lower. 
 
Economic news

The Corelogic RP Data has research is indicating the slowdown in capital city house prices is underway. Nationally, prices dipped 0.3 per cent. Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Hobart were the only cities to show a month-on-month advance with Sydney posting an increase of 1 percent and Perth advancing 0.9 per cent. Melbourne dipped 2.6 per cent for the month. National growth for the three months to the end of November was 0.8 per cent with year-on-year growth coming in at 8.5 per cent. 
 
The TD Securities-Melbourne Institute monthly inflation gauge has lifted 0.1 per cent in November slowing from a 0.2 per cent rise in October. The falling petrol price has offset a rises in the prices of fresh fruit and vegetables, newspapers and clothes. The annual pace of inflation has now slowed to 2.2 per cent from 2.3 per cent. 
 
Company news
 
Pacific Energy Limited (ASX:PEA) says Managing Director Adam Boyd will step down in March 2015. Mr Boyd, who has been with the company since 2006, is believed to be taking a sabbatical before re-entering the corporate world. Pacific Energy Chairman Cliff Lawrenson said that Mr Boyd has led Pacific Energy through a period of major transformation growing the company from a market cap of $10 million to $200 million. The board will undergo an executive search process for a new CEO. Pacific Energy also re-affirmed FY15 guidance of $33 - $35 million in earnings. Shares in Pacific Energy are trading down 3.85 per cent at $0.50. 
 
Telecommunications company ZipTel Limited (ASX:ZIP) has signed an agreement with 7-Eleven that effectively triples its retail points of presence. The deal will see 7-Eleven distribute ZipTel’s AussieSim product in over 450 stores nationally starting from today, with potential to increase access to over 600 stores. This more than triples the current distribution channels. In the past, 65 per cent of ZipTel revenue has been generated from its retail partner network with this new deal providing significant opportunity to grow the ZipTel customer base. Shares in ZipTel are trading 2.38 per cent lower at $0.41. 
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is real estate investment trusts, gaining 0.5 per cent to 1,159. Shares in Scentre Group have risen 1.3 per cent and trading at $3.52. Shares in Investa Office Fund and GPT Group are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is energy, sagging 5.3 per cent to 11,183. Shares in Liquified Natural Gas have fallen 16.92 per cent, trading at $2.70. Shares in Sundance Energy and Drillsearch are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,152 an ounce after Swiss voters rejected proposals on Sunday to boost gold reserves to 20 per cent from current levels of 7.4 per cent. The Australian dollar is buying 84.49 US cents.