Midday: Shares lower on Japan fears

Market Reports

The Australian sharemarket has fallen as the massive earthquake in Japan, Australia’s second largest export destination, triggers concerns. Uranium miners pulled the market lower, several incidents in Japan over the weekend calling the future of nuclear power into question.

The S&P/ASX200 index has lost 40 points and is 4,605 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is down 26 points.

Company news: Virgin Blue Holdings (ASX:VBA) will raise international flight fuel surcharges by up to $100 on a return journey. Increases will also be seen of up to $10 per sector on domestic trips. The increases will apply from March 21st. For example, the increase on a return flight to LA will rise from $230 to $330. A return trip to Abu Dhabi will rise from $440 to $480. Shares in Virgin Blue are steady at noon and trading at $0.34.

Jupiter Mines Ltd (ASX:JMS) has entered a trading halt. The miner is set to release an announcement outlining the scoping study of the company’s Mt Ida magnetite project in Western Australia. Shares will remain in a trading halt until the announcement or until this Wednesday March 16. Shares in Jupiter Mines last traded at $0.57. 

To the best and worst performers, and all are trading in the red: The sector with the smallest losses is Real Estate Investment Trusts easing 4 points to 857. Shares in Commonwealth Property Office Fund have gained 1.16 per cent and are $0.87. Shares in Charter Hall Office and Abacus Property Group have also lifted at midday. The worst performing sector is Materials, falling 207 points to 13,202. Shares in Atlas Iron have dropped 2.37 per cent to $3.30. Shares in BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have also sagged at midday.

To New Zealand: The NZSX50 has fallen 27 points. Taking a look at the top four stocks by turnover, Telecom Corporation of New Zealand is at the top of the list with stock down 2.45 per cent at $1.99 followed by Fletcher Building, ANZ and Telstra.

To gold and the dollar: Gold is trading at $US1,428 an ounce and the Aussie dollar is buying $1.0102 US cents.  


Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter?

Would you like to receive our daily news to your inbox?