Midday: Aus shares trade flat at noon

Market Reports

Following solid leads from US markets, the Australian share market opened in positive territory but has since lost momentum and is tracking 0.05% per cent lower at noon. The financials space has done the bulk of the heavy lifting this morning, but it is Westpac that is leading the charge. The other three big banks have made only slight gains. However not such a good start to the week for the materials space and the energy sector also seems to be struggling for direction. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 3 points lower at 5,265. On the futures market the SPI is down 8 points. 
 
Company news

Westpac Banking Corporation’s (ASX:WBC) shares have surged at the open after emerging from a trading halt. The bank’s shares have been in a trading halt since last Wednesday, after it announced a $3.5 billion capital raising in response to APRA’s capital guidelines. Shares in Westpac are trading up 4.42 per cent at $31.57.
 
Benitec Biopharma Limited (ASX:BLT) has announced the formation of its Hepatology Clinical Advisory Board. The newly appointed board will serve as a strategic resource to Benitec as it continues to develop its therapies for the treatment of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Shares in Benitec are trading 1.19 per cent lower at 42 cents. 
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Financials excluding REITs, gaining 0.8 per cent to 6,983. Shares in Westpac have risen 4.42 per cent and trading at $31.57. Shares in BT Investment and QBE Insurance are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Materials, falling 1.2 per cent to 8,286. Shares in Regis Resources have fallen 5.19 per cent, trading at $2.01. Shares in Fortescue and Evolution Mining are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,177 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 72.48 US cents. 
 

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