Following weak leads from US markets, the Australian share market has eroded most of yesterday’s gains, opening in the red and continuing to lose momentum in the first two hours of trade; tracking 0.85 per cent lower at noon. The Financials sector is leading the losses, with all of the big four banks in negative territory, shedding between 1 and 1.5 per cent. The materials space has however made a recovery today, with gold stocks leading the charge after a small increase in the price of the precious metal overnight.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 51 points down at 5,756. On the futures market the SPI is 49 points lower.
Retail Trade figures are out for the month of November, showing a 0.2 per cent increase, seasonally adjusted. The Australian Bureau of Statistics says there were rises in food prices, clothing and footwear and household goods. This 0.2 per cent increase, fell short of October’s 0.5 per cent rise.
Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN) has entered into a proposal to restructure its balance sheet, which will subsequently reduce the company’s debt obligations. The purpose of the restructure is to address the upcoming maturity of the Uranium miner’s outstanding US$212 million 6 per cent convertible bonds. Paladin says the restructure is a ‘holistic solution’ that will provide a platform for future growth when the uranium market recovers. Shares in Paladin Energy are trading down 10.53 per cent at $0.09.
ResApp Health Limited (ASX:RAP) has entered into a two year expanded research collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital to perform additional analysis of the SMARTCOUGH-C study. The study will investigate respiratory disease clinical practise, along with the efficacy of ResApp’s cough-based smart phone app. Shares in ResApp are trading down 0.69 per cent at $0.36.
Best and worst performers
The sector with the losses is Staples, losing 0.2 per cent to 8,911. Shares in Blackmores (ASX:BKL) have risen 0.89 per cent and trading at $110.72. Shares in Wesfarmers (ASX:WES) are slightly lower and A2 Milk (ASX:A2M) are flat.
The worst performing sector is Energy, falling 1.32 per cent to 9,178. Shares in Santos (ASX:STO) have fallen 1.89 per cent, trading at $4.15. Shares in Worley Parsons (ASX:WOR) and Oil Search (ASX:OSH) are also lower.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,182 an ounce
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7346.