Despite a more positive finish from Wall Street on Thursday, the Australian share market is really struggling for direction this session and is currently tracking flat or 0.03% lower at lunchtime. The materials space is proving to be the biggest drag on the market so far this session, with the gold stocks faring the worst today after the price of the precious metal plunged around US$30 per ounce overnight.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is flat at 5,538. On the futures market the SPI is 5 points lower.
Crown Resorts Limited (ASX:CWN) has entered into further agreements in respect of its shareholding in Melco Crown Entertainment, which together with the sale to Melco International Development reduce the company’s shareholding to 11.2 per cent of MCE shares. It has also entered into an underwriting agreement for the sale of 40.9 million MCE shares. Following completion, the sale to Melco and sale to the public will generate net proceeds to Crown of around $1.9 billion. Shares in Crown Resorts are trading up 1.85 per cent at $11.58.
Investa Office Fund Limited (ASX:IOF) says a strong value uplift is expected for the IOF portfolio as at 31 December 2016. Draft external valuations show an indicative increase of $150 million to $160 million or 8 to 8.6 per cent of book value. The company says this has been primarily driven by the continued strength in the Sydney property market.Shares in Investa Office Fund are trading up 2 per cent at $4.59.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is REITs, gaining 0.29 per cent to 1,338. Shares in Investa Office Fund (ASX:IOF) have risen 2 per cent and trading at $4.59. Shares in BWP Trust (ASX:BWP) and SCA Property Group (ASX:SCA) are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Materials, falling 0.48 per cent to 9,547. Shares in Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) have fallen 6.94 per cent, trading at $1.01. Shares in Saracen Minerals (ASX:SAR) and Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) are also lower.
Forager Australian Shares Fund Limited (ASX:FOR) started trading today. The listed investment company floated with an issue price of $1.57, opened at $1.81 and is currently trading at $1.80. Murray River Organics (ASX:MRG) also started trading today. It listed at $1.30, opened at $1.32 and is currently trading at $1.27.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,129 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7353.