The Australian share market opened higher this morning before coming down and is now trading 0.8 per cent lower at noon.
Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE) is leading the top 200 gains at midday, with AGL (ASX:AGL) coming in last.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 47 points lower at 6,085. On the futures market the SPI is 37 points up.
Local economic news
Employment and hours worked rose in July according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Seasonally adjusted employment increased by 114,700 people between June and July, and hours worked increased 1.3 per cent.
Head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, Bjorn Jarvis, said: "The July figures indicate that employment had recovered by 343,000 people and hours worked had also recovered 5.5 per cent since May. Employment remained over half a million people lower than seen in March, while hours worked remained 5.5 per cent lower.
The monthly increase in employment in July was underpinned by a larger increase in part-time employment than full-time employment. Hours worked rose 1.3 per cent in July, and increased more for females (2.3 per cent) than males (0.6 per cent). Hours worked for females were around 4.9 per cent below March, compared to 5.9 per cent for males.
CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) company CPB Contractors has announced another package win for the week, securing $107 million worth of work across Australia and India. In Australia CPB Contractors and its subsidiary Broad Construction have been awarded contracts for building and infrastructure projects. The contracts are for Calder Park Signalling - the Victorian Government’s Rail Projects, as part of the Rail Infrastructure Alliance and Aspley State High School’s music and visual arts centre and multi-purpose sports hall.
In India the two building contracts include Hindu Heritage Experience Centre and the Nita Mukesh Ambani Junior School. The contracts are in addition to CIMIC Group’s Tuesdays confirmed awards, two contracts worth $128 million for resources and water projects located in Western Australia and Queensland. Shares in CIMIC Group (ASX:CIM) are trading 1.6 per cent lower at $23.06.
Best and worst performers
The best-performing sector is Consumer Staples, adding 0.94 per cent, while the worst performing sector is Communication Services shedding 4.5 per cent.
The best performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is Treasury Wine Estates (ASX:TWE), rising 12.7 per cent to $12.89, followed by shares in Mesoblast (ASX:MSB) and AMP (ASX:AMP).
The worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX 200 is AGL (ASX:AGL), dropping 9.8 per cent to $15.33, followed by shares in Telstra (ASX:TLS) and Breville (ASX:BRG).
Commodities and the dollar
Gold is trading at US$1,936 an ounce.
Iron ore price rose 0.3 per cent to US$131.51
Iron ore futures are pointing to a rise of 0.3 per cent.
One Australian dollar is buying 71.68 US cents.