Despite positive leads The Australian share market opened weaker and has fallen point 7 per cent at noon. Resource stocks have pushed the market lower, and the Australian dollar surpassing 110 US cents has put a dampener on the market. The S&P/ASX200 index is down 41 points and is 4,782 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is down 26 points.
In economic news, the strong Australian dollar is believed to have pushed the Australian manufacturing activity down. The Australian Industry Group/PriceWaterhouseCoopers Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index rose just 0.5 points in April to 48.4. The decline in manufacturing activity was largest in the transport equipment and textiles sub-sectors.
In company news, Transfield Services Infrastructure Fund (ASX:TSI) is making recommendations to shareholders to accept a bid by Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding for a 52.2 per cent stake in the company. The Thai power company will acquire the stake at 85 cents a security, bringing the value of the entire fund up to $373 million. Shares in Transfield have gained 5.73 per cent and are trading at $0.83.
BT Investment Management Ltd (Public, ASX:BTT) have reported a first-half 51 per cent net profit rise. Equity market gains and instritutional investment flows drove the rise. The company says strength in the domestic economy and investment in the resources sector are also pushing the company’s profit up. Shares in BT Investment Management are down 0.37 per cent at noon and are trading at $2.69.
The best performing sector is Healthcare, down 46 points to 8,697. Shares in Sigma Pharmaceuticals have gained 2.7 per cent and trading at $0.38. Shares in Phylogica and Ramsay Health Care have also improved at midday.
The worst performing sector is Energy, down 303 points to 16,289. Shares in Beach Energy are down 4.17 per cent to $0.92. Shares in Origin Energy and Paladin are also lower at noon.
In New Zealand, the NZSX50 has lost 14 points. With the top four stocks by turnover, Fletcher Building is at the top of the list with stock 0.98 per cent at $9.10 followed by Telecom Corporation of New Zealand, Westpac, and Guinness Peat Group.
Gold is trading at $US1547 an ounce and the Aussie dollar is buying $US1.09.72.