Midday: Aus shares flat at noon

Market Reports

Following negative leads, the Australian sharemarket opened lower as upward momentum in the commodity markets cooled. The banks have been doing the heavy lifting during the morning session, offsetting moderate losses in the mining space. The local sharemarket sits flat as we head into afternoon trade.
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 0.5 point down at 5,108. On the futures market the SPI is 6 points lower. 

Economic news

Consumer confidence fell 2.2 percent in March. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute index slipped to 99.1 as global market turmoil and events in Canberra weighed on consumer sentiment.
 
Company news
 
Pilbara Minerals Limited (ASX:PLS) has entered into a trading halt, pending an announcement regarding the results of a pre-feasibility study on its Pilgangoora lithium project. Shares are expected to resume trading on Friday 11 March or when an announcement is made. Shares in Pilbara Minerals last traded at at $0.38. 
 
Dubber Corporation Limited (ASX:DUB) has signed a binding memorandum of understanding with a Singapore-based telecommunications carrier for the deployment of th eDubber platform. Dubber will provide both fixed and mobile call recording services to the Telco’s customers. Shares in Dubber are trading up 4.62 per cent at $0.68. 

Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector is Healthcare, gaining 1.1 per cent to 19,633. Shares in Mesoblast have risen 4.37 per cent and trading at $2.39. Shares in Sirtex and Estia Health are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Energy, falling 0.3 per cent to 7,807. Shares in Beach Energy have fallen 7.1 per cent, trading at $0.72. Shares in AWE and Oil Search are also lower. 

Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is trading at $US1,263 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7429

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