Midday: ASX sinks, Caltex drops on Chevron exit

Market Reports

Despite a positive lead from Wall Street the Australian share market has sunk 1.3 per cent as lower commodity prices weigh. While all sectors are down steep falls in the iron ore and oil price have pushed the mining and energy sectors to the worst performers. On a bright note shares in PanAust Limited (ASX:PNA) have surged about 40 per cent after scoring another takeover offer from one of its shareholders. 
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has sunk 81 points to 5,839 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is 81 points lower. 
 
Company news
 
Shares in Caltex Australia Limited (ASX:CTX) have dropped after US based oil and gas giant Chevron decided to divest is long held 50 per cent interest in the company on Friday. Caltex says Chevron’s move was driven by a broader portfolio review and will not affect Caltex’s business or ability to reliably and competitively deliver fuel. The stake is understood to have been picked up by Australian and global equity market institutional investors for $35 per share. Caltex says this amount reflects strong interest in the stock and the company has affirmed its commitment to delivering top quartile shareholder returns. Shares in Caltex Australia have retreated 9.79 per cent and are trading at $34.17 at noon. 
 
Indochine Mining Limited (ASX:IDC) has appointed voluntary administrators after failing to secure funding for its flagship Mr Kare Gold Project. The Papua New Guinea focussed miner says despite its best efforts it is disappointed a funding agreement could not be concluded. The company has advised its directors will continue to work with the company’s administrators to help them achieve the best outcome for all stakeholders. Shares in Indochine Mining have lost about 50 per cent this year and last traded at $0.006. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
The sector with the fewest losses is health care, shedding 0.8 per cent to 19,080. Shares in ResMed Inc. (ASX:RMD) have risen 1.1 per cent and trading at $9.17. Shares in Estia Health Limited (ASX:EHE) are higher while shares in Mesoblast Limited (ASX:MSB) are steady. 
 
The worst performing sector is energy, falling 4.1 per cent to 10,778. Shares in Caltex Australia Limited (ASX:CTX) have fallen 9.79 per cent, trading at $34.17. Shares in Santos Limited (ASX:STO)  and Karoon Gas Australia Limited (ASX:KAR) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is buying $US1,197 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7726.

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