Midday: BHP Billiton, Exxon push ahead with LNG

Market Reports

The financial lifeline for Cyprus has done nothing to ease investor jitters about instability in Europe. The bailout deal, reached, overnight, would appear a circuit breaker for the country’s spiralling fortunes.

However the head of the Eurozone suggesting the Cyprus bailout may form a blueprint for other struggling EU economies, has investors spooked.  Following soft offshore leads, the Australian share market opened lower this morning and has fallen further into the red at noon.

The S&P/ASX 200 index is 36 points in the red at 4,955. On the futures market the SPI is currently down 42 points.
Company News

BHP Billiton Limited (ASX:BHP) is reportedly pushing ahead with the approvals process for a $10 billion floating LNG project in Australia, with energy giant and JV partner Exxon Mobil. It’s understood the companies will submit documentation to the Federal Environment department as soon as this week. Shares in BHP are down 1.15 per cent at $33.02.

ASX Limited (ASX:ASX) is taking steps to make it easier for listed companies to raise equity capital. The Australian Securities Exchange plans to reduce the timetable for a standard rights issue from more than 20 days to 10 days or less. ASX shares are trading 0.45 per cent weaker at $35.53

Best and worst performers

Utilities is the best performing sector, falling 2  points to 5497.  Shares in Energy World Corporation Ltd (ASX:EWC) are up 1.39 per cent 36 cents, followed by SP AusNet (ASX:SPN) and APA Group (ASX:APA).
The worst performing sector is materials, falling 124 points to 9663. Shares in Atlas Iron Limited, (ASX:AGO) are off 4.78 per cent at $1.09, Regis Resources Limited (ASX:RRL) and Resolute Mining Limited (ASX:RSG) are also sharply weaker.
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,602 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US1.046.

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