Midday: Aus shares extend falls

Market Reports

Following weak leads the Australian share market dipped at open and is more than 1 per cent down at noon, extending falls from yesterday’s 2.8 per cent decline. Better than expected housing and trade data has been unable to offset weakness in the financials, ahead of the Central Bank’s rates decision this afternoon. 

The S&P/ASX200 index has fallen 52 points to 3,845. On the futures market the SPI is 35 points lower.

Economic news

Australia’s trade surplus has come in higher than expected. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported that the balance on goods and services widened to a surplus of $3.1 billion in August, up from a surplus of $1.8 billion the month before.

The ABS has also shown that building approvals jumped 11.4 per cent to 13,800 units in August, beating expectations of a lift between 1 per cent 2 per cent. Over the year to August building approvals were down 5.5 per cent.

Company news

Mining products and services provider Industrea Limited (ASX:IDL) has won $100 million of contract extensions from global miner Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO). Industrea says the contracts are for the hire, service and support of equipment to Rio through to February 2014. Shares in Industrea have shed 2.52 per cent, trading at $1.16.

Lend Lease Group (ASX:LLC) will gain $47 million for the sale of equity in three UK healthcare and education Public Private Partnership assets to the Lend Lease UK Infrastructure Fund. CEO and Managing Director, Steve McCann, says the deal will allow Lend Lease to recycle further capital in the UK. Lend Lease has a minority co-investment in the UK Infrastructure Fund along with a Dutch company. Shares in Lend Lease Group have fallen 3.01 per cent and are trading at $6.77.

Best and worst performers

Most sectors have dropped: The best performing sector is Telco Services, adding 0.41 points to 1,044. Shares in SingTel have risen 2.43 per cent and trading at $2.53. Shares in iiNet are higher while shares in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand are flat.

The worst performing sector is Health Care falling 162 points to 7,455. Shares in ResMed have eased 3.05 per cent and trading at $2.86. Shares in CSL and Cochlear have also lost ground.

New Zealand

The NZSX50 is 11 points lower. 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 0.76 per cent at $2.60 followed by ANZ, Fletcher Building and Auckland International Airport.

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,660 an ounce. The Australian dollar is buying 94.87 US cents.