Following a mix of leads, the Australian share market saw a brief push into the green before diving in late morning trade and is down 0.5 per cent at midday.
Financials saw the biggest losses today with Westpac down more than 1 per cent as Gail Kelly announces her retirement as CEO.
Energy stocks also showed weakness today, outweighing gains from the materials sector.
The S&P/ASX 200 index is 25 points down at 5,438. On the futures market the SPI is 38 points lower.
Singapore Telecommunications Limited’s (ASX:SGT)
Australian arm Optus has reported a 2.3 per cent jump in first half net profit to the end of September this year. For the second quarter the telco reported net profit growth of 5.4 per cent on the back of customer growth and increased demand for data services. CEO Allen Lew says the company achieved solid sales momentum during the period. Shares in Singtel are flat at $3.42
Shares in Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX:RHC)
have pushed higher as it reaffirms its 2015 financial year guidance. The private hospital operator says capacity expansion will be driven by an ageing population while global acquisitions are offering further opportunities in new and existing hospitals. Shares in Ramsay Health Care are trading up 0.47 per cent at $53.04.
Best and worst performers
The best performing sector is health care, gaining 0.1 per cent to 16,297. Shares in Virtus Health Limited (ASX:VRT)
have risen 1.69 per cent and trading at $7.23. Shares in ResMed Inc (ASX:RMD)
and Japara Healthcare Limited (ASX:JHC)
are also stronger.
The worst performing sector is financials, falling 0.7 per cent to 6,142. Shares in AMP Limited (ASX:AMP)
have fallen 1.47 per cent, trading at $5.71. Shares in Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC)
and Goodman Group (ASX:GMG)
are also lower.
Gold and the dollar
Gold is trading at $US1,160 an ounce.
The Australian dollar is buying $US0.8714.