Despite opening slightly higher, the Australian share market seems to be struggling for direction in the first two hours of trade and is tracking 0.32 per cent higher at noon. While sectors are mixed today, the Materials space is doing the bulk of the heavy lifting so far with gains of more than 2 per cent in the big miners BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO). Energy and Consumer Discretionaries are also seeing some buying. However the Health Care sector is proving to be the biggest drag on the market so far this session.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 18 points up at 5,721. On the futures market the SPI is 25 points higher.
Checking in with how Asian markets are tracking now, Japan’s Nikkei has lost 0.1 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng has added 0.5 per cent and the Shanghai Composite has gained 0.1 per cent.
IMF Bentham Limited (ASX:IMF) has announced that it will fund on a conditional basis claims of certain current and former shareholders of Sirtex Medical (ASX:SRX) against Sirtex. The claims relate to the alleged breach of Sirtex’s continuous disclosure obligations. This increases the number of Australian class actions currently funded either conditionally or unconditionally by IMF to 17. Shares in IMF Bentham are trading up 0.92 per cent at $1.93.
ResApp Health Limited (ASX:RAP) has gone into a trading halt, pending the release of a market sensitive announcement by the respiratory disease diagnosis company. ResApp says the halt relates to an announcement relating to its SMARTCOUGH- C study and will remain in place until Wednesday at the latest. Shares in ResApp last traded at $0.31.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is Materials, gaining 1.6 per cent to 10,152. Shares in Oz Minerals (ASX:OZL)have risen 4.28 per cent and trading at $8.42. Shares in Fortescue (ASX:FMG) and Galaxy Resources (ASX:GXY) are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is Health Care, falling 0.3 per cent to 22,347. Shares in Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX:API) have fallen 1.69 per cent, trading at $1.75. Shares in Ansell Limited (ASX:ANN) and Cohclear (ASX:COH) are also lower.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,269 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US0.7980.