Following weaker leads from Wall Street overnight, the Australian share market has fallen at the open and has seen continued selling in the first two hours of trade, tracking 0.69 per cent lower at noon. Consumer Discretionaries are leading the losses this session, followed by REITs and the Energy Space. Less than a handful of sectors are in positive territory, but we’ve seen some gains in the Materials space thanks to a jump of more than one per cent in mining heavyweights BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO).
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 40 points down at 5,838. On the futures market the SPI is 21 points lower.
Checking in with how Asian markets are tracking now, Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.3 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.05 per cent.
Slater and Gordon Limited (ASX:SGH) says it intends to file a claim against Watchstone Group in the High Court of England and Wales for around 600 million pounds. The matter surrounds SGH’s purchase of Watchstone’s professional services division in 2015 and involves serious allegations including fraud. Slater and Gordon says the value of the claim exceeds the net assets of Watchstone and the monies held in escrow by several hundred million pounds. Shares in Slater and Gordon are trading higher 19.32 per cent at $0.10.
Monash IVF Group Limited (ASX:MVF) has announced that Managing Director and CEO James Theideman has resigned from the company for another role in an unlisted health care organisation. Mr Theideman will work through his six month notice period and will be responsible for the release of the company’s FY17 results. The IVF provider has commenced an immediate search for internal and external candidates. Shares in Monash IVF are trading down 2.9 per cent at $2.01.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Materials, gaining 0.4 per cent to 9,677. Shares in Alumina (ASX:AWC) have risen 4.1 per cent and trading at $1.84. Shares in Iluka (ASX:ILU) and Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Consumer Discretionaries, falling 1.5 per cent to 2,221. Shares in Bapcor (ASX:BAP) have fallen 3.47 per cent, trading at $5.29. Shares in Retail Food Group (ASX:RFG) and Dominos Pizza (ASX:DMP) are also lower.
Benjamin Hornigold Limited (ASX:BHD) started trading today. The investment company floated with an issue price of $1.00, opened at $1.03 and is currently trading at $1.045.
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,226 an ounce
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.7387.