Following soft leads from US markets ahead of the weekend, the Australian share market opened lower and is 0.41 per cent down at noon. The market may cap its record 12 days of gains amid continuing political instability and fallout from the May budget.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 25 points down at 5,795. On the futures market the SPI is 12 points lower.
Looking at economic news: The ANZ has reported an eighth consecutive rise in job ads with January advertisements up 1.3 per cent month on month propelling a 10 per cent rise in the figures since January last year. Internet ads are up by 15 per cent year on year while newspaper ads are increasing their decline rapidly, down 24 per cent in the past 12 months. The figures are showing encouraging signs that the overall demand for new labour is rising.
Coffey International Limited (ASX: COF) half year results produced a profit of just $1 million and revealed a 8 per cent drop in geoservices revenue compared to the same period last year. The company is suffering in a difficult market following the slowdown in the resource sector however results are improving slightly from the second half of the 2014 financial year. The company maintains it is responding quickly to changes in the business arena and gaining good results with more diverse revenue streams such as transport infrastructure and property. Shares in Coffey took a tumble and are trading down 17.24 per cent at $0.24.
Worley Parsons Limited (ASX:WOR)
has signed an agreement with Steelhead LNG to provide engineering services for its latest project in Canada. Steelhead is developing a new land-based facility on Vancouver Island and Worley Parsons will immediately begin front end engineering and design studies as well as impact assessments and technical and approvals support. The contract cements a relationship that started with the preliminary assessments and screening for the project. Shares in Worley Parsons are trading up 2.06 per cent at $10.38.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is healthcare, gaining 1.2 per cent to 18,435. Shares in Ansell have risen 6.33 per cent and are trading at $24.52 after reporting 20 per cent sales growth and a 34 per cent rise in first half profit. Shares in Sirtex and Mesoblast are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is real estate investment trusts, falling 1.8 per cent to 1,310. Shares in Stockland have fallen 2.4 per cent, trading at $4.47. Shares in Dexus Property and Goodman Group are also lower.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,237 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 77.59 US cents.