Midday: ASX stays strong but dollar slips

Market Reports

Following another run of record highs by major indexes on Wall street, the Australian share market has pushed higher and is almost half a per cent up at noon.
 
The gains come on the back of a strong close yesterday while the Aussie dollar has contracted this morning to $US0.9388. The dollar’s slide was pushed by poor retail trade figures as well as comments by Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens that the Australian dollar is well and truly over-valued.
 
Focus now turns to the US job figures that are released tonight Australia time, just ahead of the July 4 holiday in the US. 
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 29 points up at 5,485. On the futures market the SPI is 35 points higher. 
 
Economic news

The Australian Bureau of statistics has reported that retail sales are down while building approvals are up. Retail sales sunk half a per cent in May, which was above expectations and suggests fading consumer confidence. Meanwhile building approvals are up 9.9 per cent seasonally adjusted.
 
Company news
 
Cromwell Group (ASX:CMW) has confirmed that it is in discussions with Invesco Real Estate about the sale of 321 Exhibition street in Melbourne. The property investment company says a contract has not yet been concluded. The news comes one month after the company announced its purchase of a 50 percent share in New Zealand property manager Oyster Group. Shares in Cromwell Group are trading flat at $0.99.
 
Southern Cross Electrical Engineering (ASX:SXE) has won a contract for works at the Yarnima Power Station. The heavy industry electrical engineering company will carry out electrical and instrumentation works at the power station, run by BHP Billiton, near Newman in Western Australia. The project adds to a scope of work that totals over $25 million awarded to date. Shares in Southern Cross are trading up 10.53 per cent at $0.53
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is materials gaining 0.9 per cent to 10,008. Shares in Western Areas Limited (ASX:WSA) have risen 6.67 per cent and trading at $5.12. Shares in Mount Gibson Iron Limited (ASX:MGX) and Alumina Limited (ASX:AWC) are also stronger. 
 
The worst performing sector is utilities, falling 0.2 per cent to 5,961. Shares in DUET Group (ASX:DUE) have fallen 0.62 per cent, trading at $2.42. Shares in APA Group (ASX:APA) and Spark Infrastructure Group (ASX:SKI) are also lower.
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,326 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9388

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