Midday: Aus shares flat at noon

Market Reports

Following another quiet day of trade on Wall Street, the Australian share market has struggled for direction so far this session and is currently tracking 0.08 per cent lower at noon. The financials space is doing the bulk of the heavy lifting, with small gains in the big four banks. The materials and energy sectors have made another day of losses with the big miners BHP and Rio Tinto proving to be the biggest drag on the market so far this session. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 5 points lower at 5,107. On the futures market the SPI is up 3 points.
 
Company news

REA Group (ASX:REA) has expanded its parental leave policy to give employees 6 months paid parental leave for primary caregivers and three months paid parental leave for secondary care givers. This decision follows in the footsteps of companies including Aurizon and PwC. Shares in REA Group are trading 1.28 per cent higher at $51.63. 
 
Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) has priced $745 million seven year fixed rate guaranteed notes with a coupon of 1.375 per cent under its Euro Medium Term Note Programme. Proceeds of the issue will be used to repay borrowings under the group’s revolving bank facilities. Shares in Scentre Group are trading 0.11 per cent lower at $4.34. 

Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is REITs, gaining 0.25 per cent to 1,341. Shares in Goodman Group have risen 1.22 per cent and trading at $6.65. Shares in Charter Hall and Growthpoint are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Materials, falling 1 per cent to 7,242. Shares in BHP have fallen 2.34 per cent, trading at $16.73. Shares in Syrah Resources and Fortescue are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,234 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7469.