News: Midday: Aus shares dive

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    The Australian sharemarket is down close to 3 per cent at midday after Wall Street dipped overnight and fears of a global recession grip the market. It looks like it will be a very ugly end to the week.


    The S&P/ASX200 index is 123 points lower at 4,128. On the futures market the SPI is 119 points weaker.

    Company news

    Aircraft Engineers for Qantas Airways Limited (ASX:QAN) will stage one hour work stoppages for the rest of the year. That’s the Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association’s reaction to the airline’s plan to cut jobs and set up new airlines in Asia. The union says they will provide replacement labour working on overtime pay, a strategy that would hurt the airline financially but not inconvenience travellers. Qantas shares have fallen 3.72 per cent, trading at just over $1.50.

    Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) has posted a substantial jump in full year profit. Net profit leapt to just over $US 1 billion, from $US 581 million the year before. Despite the rise, Goldman Sachs had expected the miner to post an even greater profit, closer to $US 2 billion. The miner paid a maiden dividend of three cents in March and will pay a final dividend of four cents, fully franked next month. Fortescue shares have dropped 4.96 per cent, trading at $5.75.

    Best and worst performers

    All sectors are in the red. The sector with the smallest losses is Telco Services, falling 15 points to 1,056. Shares in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand have risen 3.88 per cent and trading at $2.14. Shares Enerji Limited and Broad Investments Limited are flat.

    The worst performing sector is Consumer Discretionary shedding 44 points to 1,178. Shares in Billabong International Limited have dropped 20.5 per cent and trading at $4.11. Shares in Tabcorp Holdings Limited and Fairfax Media Limited are also lower at noon.


    Bega Cheese Limited (ASX:BGA) started trading today at $1.90, $0.10 below its issue price of $2.00 and is currently at $1.85.

    New Zealand

    The NZSX50 is 32 points weaker.  


    Taking a look at the top four stocks by turnover, Fletcher Building is at the top of the list with the stock falling 3.02 per cent at $7.71 followed by Telecom Corporation of New Zealand, ANZ and Telstra.

    Gold and the dollar

    Gold is trading at $US1,835 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US1.0326 cents.  








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