Midday: Miners drag ASX lower

Market Reports

Despite positive leads, the Australian share market opened sharply lower lead down by a loss of confidence in the miners after news Chinese property prices were softening and a drop in the price of iron ore over the weekend. The market is trading 0.86 per cent lower at noon.
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 47 points down at 5,432. On the futures market the SPI is 50 points lower.

Company news

Salmat Limited (ASX:SLM) has revised its earnings for full year 2014 sharply lower to EBITA of $8 million from its previous outlook of $14 - $16 million issued in February. The consumer marketing company says its fundamental growth strategy is on track and it is still in the midst of rolling out new technology and integrating their new Reach platform. The loss of revenue is attributed to a delay in spending by mid-tier customers until the network redesign is complete and all clients have been migrated to the new platform. Salmat says it has plenty of new business in the pipeline for 2015 after the transformation project is finished and expected a top line sales growth of around 15 per cent. The company remains positive and has re-confirmed its final dividend of 7.5 cents. Shares in Salmat are trading 3.23 per cent lower at $1.80. 
 
 
Cast steel manufacturer Bradken Limited (ASX:BKN) is also warning of a profit downgrade. The company is embarking on a reorganisation and will cut its workforce by ten per cent and close its Henderson foundry in Perth. It will cost Bradken $51.4 million in redundancies to shed the 500 jobs required. The reorganisation has been forced by a lack of recovery in the company’s orders and no short to medium term improvement showing. Income for fiscal 2014 has been downgraded to $173 million from $180 million not including one off costs. Shares in Bradken are trading 4.34 per cent softer at $3.75. 
 
 
Best and worst performers

All sectors are down this morning. The sector with the smallest losses is real estate investment trusts, down 3 points to 1,060. Shares in Abacus Property Group have risen 0.82 per cent and trading at $2.47. Shares in Charter Hall Retail and Federation Centres are also stronger.
 
The worst performing sector is materials, tumbling 164 points to 9,947 Shares in Fortescue Metals continue their decline down a further 3.82 per cent, trading at $4.41. Shares in Evolution Mining and Medusa Mining are also lower.

Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,294 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying 93.63US cents.

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