Midday: Aus shares relatively unchanged

Market Reports

The wait for a decision on US debt and budget talks have left the Australian share market broadly unchanged at noon, after opening slightly higher. At midday, it’s about 0.3 per cent lower with healthcare, real estate investment trusts and materials dragging it down.

The S&P/ASX200 index has dropped 8 points and is 4,456 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is 6 points lower.

Economic news

Home values have eased for June. After three consecutive months of falls, the latest RP Data-Rismark home value index has found that capital city house prices declined 0.2 per cent in the month, and year-on-year prices were down two per cent.

Company news

Toll Holdings Limited (ASX:TOL) has refinanced its Singapore debt into a single S$1 billion syndicated debt facility, completely finishing its debt refinancing program that started last year. The group has also acquired German ocean forwarder Andree & Wilkerling (AWG), which specialises in import and export ocean freight forwarding service within the retail, consumer goods, chemicals and steel materials sectors. Shares in Toll Holdings (ASX:TOL) have gained 1.54 per cent and are trading at $4.63.

Austar United Communications (ASX:AUN) says it’s confident a proposed merger with Foxtel is going to go ahead. The pay television company today reported a four-fold increase in first half net profit, but revenue was flat at $351.75 million. Chief executive John Porter says there is a compelling, industrial logic to bringing Austar and Foxtel together. Shares in Austar United Communications (ASX:AUN) are flat at $1.06.

Sectors

The best performing sector is Telco services, adding 4 points to 1,035. Shares in Singtel (ASX:SGT) are 1.61 per cent stronger and trading at $2.52. Shares in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand (ASX:TEL) and Telstra (ASX:TLS) are also on positive ground.

The worst performing sector is Healthcare dropping 69 points to 8,123. Shares in Sigma Pharmaceuticals (ASX:SIP) have fallen 4.21 per cent and trading at 45.5 cents. Shares in Viralytics (ASX:VLA) and Alchemica (ASX:ACL) and are also lower.

New Zealand

The NZSX50 is 12 points higher. Taking a look at the top four stocks by turnover, Telecom Corporation of New Zealand is at the top of the list with stock flat at $2.65 followed by Westpac, Fletcher Building and ANZ.

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,614 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US1.9.84 cents.