Midday: Aus shares steady on jobs data

Market Reports

Following some positive leads from Wall street, the Australian share market opened a touch higher this morning, but it was today’s release of jobs data that had everyone’s attention and with a rise in unemployment the ASX was steady at noon. The news was in-line with the most bearish of expectations with the pessimistic forecasts by National Australia Bank being vindicated.
 
The Aussie dollar pushed lower on the news, down to $US0.9414
 
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 6 points up at 5,459. On the futures market the SPI is 2 points higher. 
 
Economic news

The ABS has reported a rise in unemployment for June with the seasonally adjusted figure coming in at 6 per cent, despite 15,900 jobs being created in the month seasonally adjusted.
 
Company news
 
Leighton Holdings Limited (ASX:LEI) has appointed Kirstin Ferguson as an independent, non-executive director of the board. CEO Marcelino Fernandez says he is delighted to welcome a leader of Ferguson’s calibre to the Leighton board. The company says Ferguson has held executive directorships with SunWater and Dart Energy and she was Chair of the Thiess Advisory Board. Shares in Leightons are trading up 2.65 per cent at $20.89 
 
Kingsgate Consolidated Limited (ASX:KCN) has appointed Geoff Day as Chief Executive Officer. The gold mining company says Mr Day was previously General Manager of sustainability and external affairs at Newcrest Mining. Shares in Kingsgate are trading up 1.09 per cent at $0.93
 
Best and worst performers

The best performing sector is real estate investment trusts, gaining 0.8 per cent to 1,087. Shares in Scentre Group Limited (ASX:SCG) have risen 2.02 per cent and trading at $3.27. Shares in Cromwell Group (ASX:CMW) and Westfield Corporation (ASX:WFD) are also stronger.
 
The worst performing sector is health care, falling 0.2 per cent to 14,269. Shares in Mesoblast Limited (ASX:MSB) have fallen 0.89 per cent, trading at $4.44. Shares in Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX:RHC) and Sirtex Medical Limited (ASX:SRX) are also lower.
 
Gold and the dollar

Gold is trading at $US1,330 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.9414