Midday: Aus shares track 0.11% lower at noon

Market Reports

Following just a half day of trade in the US on Friday, the Australian share market opened slightly higher, but seems to be struggling for direction. It’s currently in negative territory, tracking 0.11 per cent lower at noon. BHP shares are proving to be the biggest drag on the index so far, after news that the Brazilian government would be suing Samarco, BHP and Vale for more than $5.2 billion after the catastrophic mine collapse earlier this month. BHP shares are down more than 1.75 per cent. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 6 points lower at 5,197. On the futures market the SPI is down 6 points. 
 
Company news

Dick Smith Holdings Limited (ASX:DSH) has announced that management has initiated a review of inventory, which was prompted by disappointing October performance. The company says November trading was also below expectations and stock holdings remain above management’s preferred levels. Shares in Dick Smith are trading down 50.38 per cent at 33 cents. 
 
Slater and Gordon (ASX:SGH) has announced that Mr Bryce Houghton has commenced as Group CFO of the embattled law firm. After a horror week of trade last week, following an announcement relating to amendments to compensation laws in the UK, the company has staged a remarkable recovery in the first couple of hours of trade this morning. Shares in Slater and Gordon are trading 40.58 per cent higher at 97 cents. 
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Staples, gaining 0.5 per cent to 8,285. Shares in Metcash have risen 17.05 per cent and trading at $1.54 Shares in Graincorp and Treasury Wines are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Materials, falling 1.6 per cent to 7,003. Shares in Regis Resources have fallen 5.66 per cent, trading at $2. Shares in Evolution Mining and Western Areas are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,057 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 71.72 US cents.
 
 

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