Midday: ASX slumps amid global volatility

Market Reports

The volatility continues on the markets with weakness from the US overnight helping drive the local bourse almost 1 per cent lower towards midday. 
 
Energy stocks were the only sector pushing higher after the oil price showed signs of a recovery on news of US production numbers.
 
This comes before this afternoon’s interest rate announcement from the RBA which most analysts are forecasting will see the cash rate kept steady for another month. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 49 points down at 5,158. On the futures market the SPI is 33 points lower. 
 
Looking at economic news: The ABS has shown further growth in the current account deficit which expanded by more than 40 per cent out to $19 billion in the June quarter, coming in ahead of expectations.
 
Company news
 
Shares in Metgasco Limited (ASX:MEL) have tumbled almost 20 per cent this morning as it concedes it has been unable to reach a settlement with the NSW government regarding its Northern Rivers gas drilling projects. The gas producer says it has initiated court action for damages in relation to what it describes as an unlawful suspension of the company’s drilling program in 2014. The company says it will go ahead with the conclusion of its seismic study related to the drilling at the Rosella gas project near Lismore in Northern NSW. Shares in Metgasco are trading down 19.35 per cent at $0.05 
 
Shares in EnviroMission Limited(ASX:EVM) have skyrocketed this morning as it signs a $US110 million funding Heads of Agreement with a Japanese fund.The solar tower company with operations in the US says the funding will allow its La Paz Solar Tower project to progress to the finance stage and provide development capital for other projects. The initial payment of $US10 million will be a direct equity investment at $US0.20. Since making the announcement this morning the company has placed its shares in a trading halt pending further details of the agreement. Shares in EnviroMission last traded at $0.165 which is a gain of 175 per cent on yesterday’s closing price.
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is energy, gaining 0.5 per cent to 9,317. Shares in Drillsearch Energy Limited (ASX:DLS) have risen 4 per cent and trading at $0.65. Shares in Origin Energy Limited (ASX:ORG) and Karoon Gas Australia Limited (ASX:KAR) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is utilities, falling 2 per cent to 6,566. Shares in DUET Group (ASX:DUE) have fallen 2.74 per cent, trading at $2.13. Shares in APA Group (ASX:APA) and AGL Energy Limited (ASX:AGL) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,140 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7116