Midday: ASX 0.5% down at noon

Market Reports

With global markets falling and amid heavy losses in gold and oil, the Australian share market slipped at open and has continued to slide in early trade to be 0.5 per cent down at midday. Gold prices have touched four week lows on US Fed Reserve tapering speculation, while the Australian dollar has also fallen. Local stocks are being weighed by the Energy sector at the moment, although all the major sectors are lower.
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 29 points down at 5,364. On the futures market the SPI is 36 points lower. 
 
Economic news
 
The Westpac Melbourne Institute Survey of Consumer Sentiment has been released, revealing that consumer confidence has been boosted by a strengthening housing market and continued to lift after the federal election. The index rose by 1.9 per cent in November after a dip in October, returning to 2010 levels. 
 
Company news
 
Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) has moved early to repay $1 billion worth of senior unsecured notes, part of a larger $US2.04 billion package due in 2015. It represents the third early repayment move on the iron ore giants $US12 billion gross debt pile in the past three months, and is expected to save $US70 million per year in interest. Shares in Fortescue are trading up 0.89 per cent at $5.66. 
 
Webjet Limited (ASX:WEB) shares have slumped in early trade after the travel retailer forecast flat pre-tax earnings in the full year due to larger marketing and technology costs. The company says its core Australian market has been essentially flat for the last year and expects full year earnings to come in at $21.5 million, near identical to last year. Webjet shares have lost more than half of their value since hitting an all time high of $5.21 in April. Shares in Webjet are trading down 8.74 per cent at $2.61. 
  
Best and worst performers

All the major sectors are down. The sector with the fewest losses is Telco services dropping 1 point to 1,775. Shares in iiNet Limited (ASX:IIN) have risen 1.28 per cent and trading at $6.35. Shares in Singapore Telecommunications Limited (CHESS)(ASX:SGT) and TPG Telecom Limited (ASX:TPM) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Energy, falling 127 points to 13,889. Shares in Karoon Gas Australia Limited (ASX:KAR) have fallen 4.58 per cent, trading at $4.17. Shares in Buru Energy Limited (ASX:BRU) and Worleyparsons Limited (ASX:WOR) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,267 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US0.9297.