Midday: Aus shares open lower

Market Reports

A lack-lustre start to the week for the Australian share market falling into negative territory this morning and currently trading down 1.05 per cent at noon. Woolworths is proving to be the biggest drag on the market, after Moody’s downgraded the supermarket giant’s credit rating,. The big four banks are also weighing heavily on the market. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is down 55 points at 5,209. On the futures market the SPI is 52 points lower. 
 
Economic news

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported a 2.1 per cent fall in manufacturing sales of goods and services this quarter. The seasonally adjusted estimate fell 0.5 per cent. The seasonally adjusted estimate for company gross operating profits fell 1.9 per cent and wages and salaries rose 1.1 per cent for the June quarter.
 
According to the latest TD Securities and Melbourne Institute monthly inflation gauge, consumer prices have risen 0.1 per cent in August. The annual pace of inflation increased to 1.7 per cent, but is still below the RBA's target band of 2 to 3 per cent. Meantime, sales of New Homes have slipped a seasonally adjusted 0.4 per cent in July, according to the HIA. 
 
Company news

Transfield Services Limited (ASX: TSE) has been selected as the preferred tenderer to operate detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. Subject to completion of the contract, the company will provide its services to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection for another five years. Shares in Transfield Services Limited (ASX: TSE) are trading 5.12 per cent higher at $1.13. 
 
Vocation Ltd (ASX:VET) has appointed Frank Lintvelt as its new chief financial officer. The embattled education provider says the new appointment is part of its turnaround plan, following the collapse in the company’s share price this year. Shares in Vocation Ltd (ASX:VET) are trading up 3.09 per cent at 10 cents. 
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Energy, lost 0.2 per cent to 9,355. Shares in Senex Energy (ASX:SXY) have risen 3.23 per cent and trading at 16 cents. Shares in AWE Limited and Santos are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Staples, falling 2.5 per cent to 8,528. Shares in Woolworths (ASX:WOW) have fallen 4.01 per cent, trading at $26.30. Shares in Coca-Cola Amatil and Wesfarmers are also lower. 

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,133 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 71.41US cents.