Midday: ASX losses led by banks

Market Reports

Wall Street fell overnight on weak earnings figures and the local sharemarket followed, it sank 1.1 per cent on open, extending yesterday’s losses, and at midday it was down 1 per cent. 
 
The bank’s led the slump with the big four all lower, while the materials sector was also in the red as the iron ore price came off a rally to dip overnight. 
 
The drive towards the 6,000 point mark has proven difficult and with the banks earnings looking weaker the market has reassessed both their dividend yields and the likelihood of a rates cut from the RBA next week.
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 62 points down at 5,776. On the futures market the SPI is 69 points lower. 
 
Company news
 
M2 Group Limited (ASX:MTU) has confirmed that the board of iiNet has recognised its takeover offer for the company, triggering TPG’s matching rights under its earlier offer. M2 Chairmen Craig Farrow says the company’s pleased that iiNet acknowledged the premium embedded in its offer plus the potential value of synergies. TPG now has the right but not the obligation to submit a counter proposal within the next three days to lift its cash consideration of $8.60 per share plus special dividend. Shares in M2 are trading up 0.27 per cent at $11.10
 
Transurban Group (ASX:TCL) says the Victorian Government is looking into progressing the company’s proposal to build a new Melbourne motorway to ease pressure on the West gate Bridge. The company says the announcement doesn’t commit either party to a project but it represents progress in moving trucks off local roads in the city’s inner west. Shares in Transurban are trading down 0.51 per cent at $9.78
  
Best and worst performers

The only major sector making gains today is consumer staples, gaining 0.66 per cent to 9,263. Shares in Tassal Group Limited (ASX:TGR) have risen 2.02 per cent and trading at $3.27. Shares in Wesfarmers Limited (ASX:WES) and Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (ASX:CCL) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is REITs, falling 1.8 per cent to 1,262. Shares in Westfield Corporation Limited (ASX:WFD) have fallen 3.32 per cent, trading at $9.32. Shares in Goodman Group (ASX:GMG) and GPT Group (ASX:GPT) are also lower. 

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,205 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8002