The Australian share market opened higher before dipping into the red and is now flat at noon. Strength in mining and energy stocks didn’t offset weakness among utilities, retailers and property sectors though.
The S&P/ASX 200 index has gained about half a point points and is 4,268. On the futures market the SPI is 6 points lower.
A private survey shows activity in the Australian services sector has expanded for the first time in four months. The Australian Industry Group/Commonwealth Bank Australian Performance of Services Index (PSI) rose 2.9 points to 51.9 points in January. A reading above 50 indicates an increase in activity.
Extract Resources Limited (ASX:EXT)
has been placed in a trading halt, ahead of an expected downstream takeover offer from Taurus Minerals. Extract will remain in a halt until the announcement, or the beginning or normal trade on February 7. Extract shares last traded at $8.57.
Shares in Woodside Petroleum (ASX:WPL)
have fallen this morning after Royal Dutch Shell said it’s intending to sell its remaining quarter stake in the company. Royal Dutch Shell’s CFO Simon Henry said overnight the company’s remaining stake in Woodside no longer fits Shell’s long-term plans. Woodside shares have lost 0.44 per cent and are trading at $34.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is energy gaining 27 points to 13,785. Shares in Beach have lifted 3.04 per cent and trading at $1.525. Shares in Nexus are are higher and Oil Search are down.
The worst performing sector is utilities, losing 23 points to 4,619. Shares in APA Group are 1.67 per cent lower, trading at $4.72. Shares in AGL and Duet Group have also lost value.
The NZSX50 is 10 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 up 1.39 per cent to $2.19, followed by Fisher & Paykel Applicances, Fletcher Building and DNZ Property Fund.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,758 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US1.0703.