Midday: Aus shares down on China gloom

Market Reports

The Australian share market opened lower after further soft economic data from China created weak offshore leads. A positive result for TPG Telecom wasn’t enough to stave off general negativity and the market is 0.59 per cent down at noon. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 32.5 points down at 5,314. 
 
On the futures market the SPI is 36 points lower. 
 
Company news 
 
Automotive Group Holdings (ASX:AHE) were placed in a trading halt prior to the company opening a bookbuild to finance the acquisition three privately owned entities. The company will seek funds from the market today to purchase Scott’s Refrigerated Freightways, JAT Refrigerated Road Services and Bradstreet Motors.
 
AGH hopes to raise a total of $115 million in equity through the issue of 33 million new shares, as well as $15 million from equity issued to Scott’s venders and $35 million in existing credit and cash reserves.
 
AGH already operates 150 car and truck dealerships in Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. It also has a trans-Tasman logistics business and employs about 5000 people.
 
The bookbuild will close at 5PM. Shares in Automotive Group last traded at $3.60. 
 
Australand Property Group (ASX:ALZ) has upgraded its earnings and distribution guidance for its current financial year which ends on 31 December.
 
Improved condition in the residential market mean Australand now expects to deliver 17-20 per cent growth in operating earnings per security in the 2014 calendar year.
 
At the same time the full year distribution, previously expected to be 22 cents per security, is now expected to be 25.5 cents, up 19 per cent.
 
Managing director Bob Johnston said the company's recent quarterly review indicated the residential division's increased contribution,  driving the increase in expectations. Fellow property investors Stockland recently increased its stake in Australand to 19.9%. Shares in Australand Property Group are trading up 0.96 per cent at $4.21. 
  
The best and worst performers

All major sectors are trading down at noon.  The sector with the least losses is Telcos losing 1.2 points to 1,746. Shares in TPG Telecom Limited (ASX:TPM) have risen 8.16 per cent and trading at $6.23. Shares in iiNet Limited (ASX:IIN) and M2 Group Limited (ASX:MTU) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is Consumer Discretionary, falling 21 points to 1,804. Shares in Myer Holdings Limited (ASX:MYR) have fallen 4.55 per cent, trading at $2.31. Shares in Domino's Pizza Enterprises (ASX:DMP) and JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX:JBH) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,312 an ounce.

The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9143.