News: Midday: Aus shares pare some losses

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    The Australian sharemarket plunged to a two year low at the open, down 84.1 points, but has pared some of those losses by midday.

    The S&P/ASX200 index has lost 33 points to 4,073 at noon. On the futures market the SPI is 19 points lower.

    Economic news

    Job advertisements declined 0.7 per cent in July, reversing gains of 3.7 per cent in June, according to an ANZ survey.

    Company news

    Rio Tinto Limited (ASX:RIO) and Mitsubishi have made a joint proposal to acquire the Coal & Allied Industries Limited (ASX:CNA) shares they don’t own, making them 80 and 20 per cent shareholders respectively. Shares in Rio (ASX:RIO) have lost 1.35 per cent at noon and are trading at $71.03.

    And JB Hi-Fi (ASX:JBH) shares dropped 3.76 per cent this morning just after it reported a decline in full-year net profit by 7.55 per cent, blaming a challenging market for the retail sector. Shares in JB Hi-Fi (ASX:JBH) have risen 1.05 per cent at noon and are trading at $14.50.

    Sectors and stocks

    To the best and worst performers, and the best performing sector is energy, advancing 115 points to 13,167. Shares in Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) have gained 1.74 per cent and trading at $35.15. Shares in Santos Limited (ASX:STO) and Oil Search (ASX:OSH) are both stronger at noon.

    The worst performing sector is Real Estate Investment Trusts, down 18 points to 731. Shares in Goodman Group (ASX:GMG) have dropped 2.86 per cent and trading at 61.2 cents. Shares in Westfield Retail Group (ASX:WRT) and Dexus (ASX:DXS) are also weaker at noon.

    New Zealand

    The NZSX50 is 77 points lower at noon. Taking a look at the top four stocks by turnover, Telecom Corporation of New Zealand is at the top of the list with stock down 2.53 per cent at $2.50.5 followed by Fletcher Building, Sky Network Television and AMP.

    Gold and the dollar

    Gold is trading at $US1,695 an ounce and the Australian dollar is buying $US1.0426 cents.

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