Midday: ASX pulls back on US political deadlock

Market Reports

The Australian share market is trading 0.5 per cent down at noon, pulling back from yesterday’s gains amid a US political deadlock. 
 
As a partial US government shutdown entered its third day concerns of a potential default and soft economic news saw Wall Street close lower. 
 
Most local sectors have turned south in response, dragged down by the miners and banks, with only the health care sector bucking trend. 

Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has fallen 25.5 points to 5,209. On the futures market the SPI is 26 points lower. 
 
Economic news
 
Confidence among mid-market Australian businesses picked up last quarter after a period of depressed sentiment. Commonwealth Bank of Australia Limited's (ASX:CBA) Future Business Index is based on a survey of financial decision markers in public and private companies with annual turnover of between $10 million and $100 million. The index found business confidence more than doubled to 10.8 in the September quarter from 5.2 in the prior quarter. The index also shows 36 per cent of businesses expect conditions to improve in the next six months while 22 per cent expect a decline. 
 
Company news
 
Shares in Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX:SRX) have dropped 2.28 per cent after biotechnology company revealed quarterly sales growth of its SIR-Spheres product fell from recent quarters when measured in percentage terms. 
 
Shares in OTOC Limited (ASX:OTC) have jumped 5 per cent after the provider of resources and infrastructure services scored $16.2 million of new work at the Australian Government’s Nauru Processing Centre. 
 
Shares in iProperty Group Limited (ASX:IPP) have lifted 1.9 per cent after the property portal site owner revealed it has boosted its cash reserves by about $7 million through disposing of its equity holding in iCar Asia Limited (ASX:ICQ).
 
Shares in Mark Bouris’ technology company TZ Limited (ASX:TZL) have risen 4.65 per cent after spruiking progress made in its infrastructure protection business including revenue growth and worldwide deployment. 
 
Best and worst performers
 
The only major sector trading in positive territory is health care, adding 18 points to 13,738. Shares in Mesoblast Limited (ASX:MSB) have risen 0.72 per cent and trading at $5.58. Shares in Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX:RHC) and CSL Limited (ASX:CSL) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is materials, dropping 86 points to 9,567. Shares in DuluxGroup Limited (ASX:DLX) have fallen 2.32 per cent, trading at $5.05. Shares in Western Areas Limited (ASX:WSA) and Kingsgate Consolidated Limited (ASX:KCN) are also lower.
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold is trading at $US1,317 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar is buying 94.29 US cents.