Midday: ASX plunges 1% as iron ore dives

Market Reports

by Lelde Smitts

The Australian share market has plunged as low as 1 per cent this morning as it extends the weekly slide south. Local stocks sank at open after falls on Wall Street sparked by conflict in the Middle East and the World Bank cutting its global economic growth forecast. 
 
On the local bourse gold and energy sectors are the only ones trading higher while resources have dropped to the worst performer. Iron ore miners are being sold off after the price of the steel making commodity fell 2 per cent to almost a two-year low.  
 
The Australian dollar is staying strong after climbing to a seven month high over $US0.94 following weak US retail and jobs figures. 
 
Figures
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index has retreated 48 points and is trading at 5,380. On the futures market the SPI is 52 points lower. 
 
Company news
 
Coca-Cola Amatil Limited (ASX:CCL) looks to have had a major global fund sell almost all of its stock in the beverages company. Reports are speculating Capital Investment Partners are behind $270.6 million worth of stock offloaded after the market closed yesterday. While the company has not commented on the speculation reports have named Goldman Sachs as having executed the block trade of 30 million shares at $9.02 per share. The news follows Coca-Cola Amatil’s shock profit warning issued in April which prompted a sharp sell-off.  Shares in Coca-Cola Amatil have fallen 1.2 per cent today and are trading at $9.03 at noon. 
 
Seven Group Holdings Limited’s (ASX:SVW) takeover target Nexus Energy Limited (ASX:NXS) has headed into voluntary administration. The oil and gas junior appointed administrators late yesterday after its shareholders rejected Seven’s takeover bid. The administrators say their immediate priority will be to take control of the Nexus’ assets and urgently assess the company’s financial position. Shares in Nexus Energy have plunged more than 80 per cent this year and last traded at $0.013. Shares in Seven Group Holdings have dropped 2.86 per cent today and are trading at $7.48 at noon. 
 
Best and worst sectors
 
The only major sector making gains is energy, rising 126 points to 14,533. Shares in Drillsearch Energy Limited (ASX:DLS) have lifted 6.53 per cent and trading at $1.55. Shares in Sundance Energy Australia Limited (ASX:SEA) and Karoon Gas Australia Limited (ASX:KAR) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is materials, declining 138 points to 9,476. Shares in Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX:MGX) have fallen 7.04 per cent, trading at $0.66. Shares in Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) and BC Iron Limited (ASX:BCI) are also lower. 
 
Gold and the dollar
 
After gaining more than $US10 overnight the price of gold is trading at $US1,274 an ounce. 
The Australian dollar is staying strong and buying $US0.9415.

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