Local stocks are trading in the red again today, following a lacklustre offshore lead and a new report showing business conditions are at their lowest levels since May 2009.
ASX gears up to compete and be ahead of the Chi-X trading platform
At lunchtime in the East, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is down 33.9pts or 0.8pct to 4436.
Investors in the US and Europe showed caution overnight, as EU ministers met over Greece's debt problems. A glitch on the NYSE also prevented trade in over 200 stocks on the close.
In company news locally, fertiliser and explosives maker Incitec Pivot (IPL) has reported a 10pct rise in full year profit, primarily due to one-off items. Profit came in at $510.7 million, with most of the earnings coming from its explosives business, while earnings in fertilisers were down 40pct on the previous period. No specific profit guidance was provided by the company and IPL shares are up 4.6pct in early trade to $3.045.
Elsewhere, QBE Insurance continues to fall in the wake of yesterday's profit downgrade. QBE expects damages from Superstorm Sandy to cost its business around $450 million in claims. QBE fell more than 8pct during yesterday's trade and is down 5.7pct in the early session to $11.13.
The NAB Business survey released today has shown confidence amongst Australian businesses fell in October, while the conditions index was down to a reading of negative 5 points, its lowest level since May 2009.
The Aussie dollar is buying US104.15c mid-session, £0.6563 and €82.03c.
So far in trade, 669 million shares have changed hands, worth $1.5 billion. 248 are up, 484 are down and 334 are unchanged.
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