Midday: Aus shares surrender early gains

Market Reports

The Australian share market spiked up to 0.6 per cent at open but has since surrendered early gains and is now in negative territory. Local stocks got a boost after European and US markets posted their strongest performance yet in the new year. 
 
Following a week of softness a stronger oil price has fuelled the energy sector to the best performer at noon. The miners and gold stocks continue to suffer and have extended yesterday’s declines after precious metal prices fell again overnight. 
 
On the economic front the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has shown job vacancies dropped 0.3 per cent in the November quarter 2013. Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association’s performance of construction index (PCI) has shown residential construction rose at the end of 2013.   
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is trading 3 points lower at 5,314. On the futures market the SPI is 14 points lower. 
 
Market movers
 
Shares in Strike Energy Limited (ASX:STX) have climbed 5.32 per cent after telling the market results from its Southern Cooper Basin Gas Project appraisal drilling program have exceeded its expectations.  
 
Shares in Viralytics Limited (ASX:VLA) have jumped 14.75 per cent after achieving a key enrolment milestone in its quest to commercialise its lead product - an investigational cancer therapeutic called CAVATAK. 
 
Shares in Genetic Technologies Limited (ASX:GTG) have soared 25 per cent after announcing it has grown the number of BREVAGen test samples by 23.1 per cent in the last quarter of 2013. 
 
Shares in Syndicated Metals Limited (ASX:SMD) have surged 12.12 per cent after the mineral explorer said it had gained outstanding assay results from drilling at its flagship Barbara Copper-Gold Project in Queensland.
 
Best and worst performers
 
The best performing sector is energy, gaining 59 points to 13,406. Shares in Buru Energy Limited (ASX:BRU) have risen 3.29 per cent and trading at $2.04. Shares in Whitehaven Coal Limited (ASX:WHC) and Karoon Gas Australia Limited (ASX:KAR) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is materials, falling 57 points to 9,999. Shares in Silver Lake Resources Limited (ASX:SLR) have fallen 12.21 per cent, trading at $0.58. Shares in Alacer Gold Corp (ASX:AQG) and Sirius Resources NL (ASX:SIR) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar
 
Gold has fallen to $US1,230 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar has fallen in morning trade and is buying $US0.8916.