The Australian share market is only slightly weaker in the early session despite falls on Wall Street overnight on Syria concerns. US Secretary of State John Kerry blasted Syria for its use of chemical weapons, sending the Dow Jones Index into free-fall in the afternoon session. European shares were mixed in thin trade on Monday with the UK markets shut for the bank holiday.
A woman looks at an electronic stock quotation board in Tokyo.
After a negative start, local stocks are fairly flat at lunchtime in the East.
Financial stocks are supporting the overall market, while the big miners remain in the red. Gold producer Newcrest Mining (NCM) has risen 0.5 per cent to $13.77.
It's been a mixed day so far on the reporting calendar. Troubled surf-wear retailer Billabong (BBG) has reported a bigger than expected loss of $859.5M, due to a number of write-downs which have negatively impacted its brand. As flagged in the half year update, BBG will not pay shareholders a final dividend. Its share price has fallen 10.2 per cent in the early session to 50.75c.
Meanwhile it's been a bumper year for Flight Centre (FLT) which has seen its profit soar by 23 per cent over the year to $246.1M. FLT will pay a final dividend of 91 cents per share. FLT shares have hit a record high today and are up 5.6 per cent at lunch to $47.11.
So far on the market, a total of 843 million shares have changed hands, worth $1.63 billion. 391 are up, 401 are down and 304 are unchanged.
The Australian dollar has fallen due to the weakness on US markets and at lunchtime in the East is buying US89.83c.
There is no economic data released locally today.
Asian share markets are generally weaker at lunchtime in the East with the NIKKEI down 0.3 per cent in Japan. The Philippines Composite has fallen 2.6 per cent.
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