Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 1/3/14

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By Julietystte Saly, CommSec Market Anal | January 3, 2014 1:06 PM EST

(12pm AEDT)

The Australian share market is being sold off in early trade, after profit takers moved in on Wall Street on the first trading day of the 2014 year.

European markets also edged lower overnight on soft Chinese and French manufacturing data.

In early trade, the All Ordinaries Index (XAO) is down 0.6 per cent after rising 0.3 per cent on the first trading day of the year yesterday.

Energy stocks are being sold off in the early session, with the sector down 1.1 per cent after the price of the commodity fell during New York trade. In the early Asian session, the Nymex contract is at US$95.52 a barrel, up slightly.

Financial stocks have fallen by 0.5 per cent while the materials sector is off 1 per cent at lunchtime in the East.

In company news, Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox (FOX) is up 1.2 per cent to $39.16 after announcing it has sold its 47 per cent stake in Chinese broadcaster Star China TV to private equity for an undisclosed sum. China Media Capital, Star China's majority stakeholder, has agreed to buy the stake and the existing Chinese management team will remain in place.

Looking at market around the region in the early session, the NZX 50 Gross Index is up 0.5 per cent while the TOPIX is higher by almost one per cent and South Korea's KOSPI Index down 0.4 per cent.

486 million shares have changed hands so far, with an estimated value of $683 million. 280 are up, 396 are down and 269 are unchanged.

At 12pm the SFE 200 Futures Index is at 5309, down 36 points.

The Australian dollar is just under US89c at US88.99c.

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(Photo: Reuters / )
A woman looks at an electronic stock quotation board in Tokyo.
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