Following weak leads from Wall Street the Australian share market dived deep into the red at the open and managed to claw back some of the losses, but is now tracking 0.14 per cent lower at noon.
The gains after 11.30am came following a suite of upbeat economic data that was released around that time.
Half of the main sectors however plunged into the red, while Telcos have been hit the hardest, falling around 3%. The bulk of the steam this session is coming from the Utilities, Financials and Healthcare.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 7 points down at 5,705. On the futures market the SPI is down 1 point.
Local economic news
The Australia Bureau of Statistics has reported the Australian economy grew 1.1% (seasonally adjusted) in the December 2016 quarter. Which is a massive recovery from its -0.5% contraction last quarter. The stellar growth also beat economists’ expectations of just 0.7% growth.
Year-on-year economic growth hit 2.4%. Smashing through predictions it would rise to 1.9% from its 1.8% prior reading.
In more good news for the Australian economy, the Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI) increased to 59.3 in February, ripping through forecasts of a rise to 54.6. It is the strong strongest PMI reading since 2002.
Fonterra Shareholders Fund (ASX:FSF) has announced it has appointed Lukas Paravicini as its new Chief Operating Officer of Global Consumer and Foodservice. The multinational dairy co-operative will make his appointment effective from 1 June 2017, while he will replace Jacqueline Chow. In the Meantime, Lukas Paravicini will continue in his current role as Chief Financial Officer. Fonterra Shareholders Fund (ASX:FSF) shares are currently trading flat, at $5.93.
Graincorp Limited (ASX:GNC) has announced Mr Graham Bradley has been appointed by the board as a non-executive Director of the company. It comes as Chairman and non-executive Director, Don Taylor resigns effective 1 May 2017. Graincorp Limited (ASX:GNC) shares are currently trading 0.9% lower at $8.85.
The best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Utilities gaining 0.4 per cent to 8,195. Shares in Infigen Energy (ASX:IFN) have risen 2.53 per cent and trading at $1.02. Shares in AusNet Services Limited (ASX:AST) and DUET Group (ASX:DUE) are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Telcos, falling 3 per cent to 1,646. Shares in Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) have fallen 3.22 per cent, trading at $4.67, it comes as the company is set to go ex-dividend today. Shares TPG Telcom (ASX:TPM) and Spark NZ Limited (ASX:SPK) however are higher.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,243 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying 76.60 US cents.