Midday: Aus shares drift lower

Market Reports

The Australian share market is trading weaker at noon with the resources-linked sectors driving the broader market lower. Local shares opened flat this morning following mixed off shore leads.   

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 4 points down at 4,381. On the futures market the SPI is 5 points lower. 
 
Company news 
 
Addressing its annual meeting today, QR National’s (ASX:QRN) chief reported a 1 per cent decline in haulage volumes in the first four months of its financial year. Lance Hockridge says he expects soft demand to continue in the short term with the Queensland wet season approaching. The freight rail company however maintained its August guidance of 195 to 205 million tonnes, but expects it to be at the lower end. The company reported a strong response to its voluntary redundancy program which saw 820 people leave. Shares in QR National are trading up 0.86 per cent at $3.51.

Stockland (ASX:SGP) has reportedly chosen departing Managing Director and Chief Executive, Matthew Quinn’s replacement. According to News Corporation, UBS investment banker Mark Steinert has been earmarked for the top job. Media reports suggest the Mr Steinert has been in serious negotiations with the residential developer in recent weeks. Mr Quinn is scheduled to leave the company before Februray. Shares in Stockland are trading up 0.44 per cent at $3.42. 

Best and worst performers 

The best performing sector is telco services gaining 10 points to 1,440. Shares in Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) have risen 0.72 per cent and trading at $4.21. Shares in TPG Telecom are higher whilst  SingTel is slightly lower. 
 
The worst performing sector is health care, falling 180 points to 10,628. Shares in CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) have fallen 2.59 per cent, trading at $47.44. Shares in Sonic Health care and ResMed are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar 

Gold is trading at $US1,726 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US1.038.