Midday: Aus shares ease ahead of RBA call

Market Reports

With investors awaiting the RBA’s monthly interest rate call this afternoon, the Australian share market opened flat and is 0.4 per cent down at noon, with the consumer staples sector dragging the market on the back of strong dip in coca-cola stocks following its gloomy half year earnings forecast
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 22 points down at 5,134. On the futures market the SPI is 33 points lower. 
 
Economic news 
 
The Australian Industry Group and Housing Industry Association’s Performance of Construction Index (PCI) says the construction sector shrank for the 35th consecutive month in April, with home and apartment building continuing to decline. The index fell 3.8 points to an index level of 35.2 in April, marking the fastest rate of contraction since September 2012.
 
Company news 
 
Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (ASX:CCL) expects its full year earnings to be in line with last year despite a difficult first half for its Australian operations.
The beverage maker anticipates pre tax earnings for the first half of the calendar year will fall between 8 and 9 per cent as its Australian grocery division battles competitor discounting and declining retailer inventory demand. Shares in Coca-Cola are trading down 8.58 per cent at $13.21, the worst performing stock so far today. 
 
Singapore Telecommunications Limited (ASX:SGT) telco Optus was the second highest bidder at the government’s digital dividend auction, shelling out $650 million for its slice of the spectrum network. The combined total of $2 billion paid by Optus, Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS) and TPG Telecom Limited (ASX:TPM)  fell substantially short of the $3 billion figure the government had expected to reap. Shares in Singtel are trading up 0.66 per cent at $3.06. 
  
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is Materials gaining 102 points to 9,342. Shares in Mirabela Nickel Limited (ASX:MBN) have risen 9.09 per cent and trading at $0.18. Shares in Newcrest Mining Limited (ASX:NCM) and Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Consumer Staples, falling 167 points to 10,236. Shares in Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (ASX:CCL) have fallen 8.58 per cent, trading at $13.21. Shares in Goodman Fielder Limited (ASX:GFF) and Woolworths Limited (ASX:WOW) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,463 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US1.024.