Australian Stock Market Report – Midday 3/27/14

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By Juliette Saly, CommSec Market Analyst | March 27, 2014 4:39 PM EST

Mid Session Report
(12:30 AEDT)

The Australian share market is trading lower on Thursday, down 0.9 per cent at lunchtime in the East following weakness on Wall Street overnight.

Mining stocks are the worst performing, giving back all of yesterday's gains and more.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
After one of the Dow's most volatile weeks in decades, institutional investors remain far from ready to give the "all-clear" sign regarding U.S. stocks. Their latest preoccupation? Concern that a large bank in France may be in trouble.

In company news, rare earth miner Lynas Corp (LYC) has responded to an ASX price query, stating it's not aware of reasons behind recent share price moves. The company also issued a production update today, saying it expects higher 3Q rare-earth sales as it starts to see sustainable momentum in the field. LYC shares are up 22.2 per cent today to 22c.

In the healthcare sector, Sigma Pharmaceuticals (SIP) has reported a 186 per cent increase in full year profit to $53.5 million, with sales revenue up 1.1 per cent on the year to $2.97 billion. Sales were driven by an increase in volume of products delivered to pharmacies within the year. Shareholders will receive a final dividend of two cents per share. SIP is also bucking the downward trend on the market, up 5.6 per cent to 66.5 cents.

Brickworks (BKW) has delivered a small lift in first half profit to $56.3 million from $56.08 million a year ago, as earnings from its building products division were offset by an 18 per cent slide in earnings from its stake in investment company Washington H Soul Pattison. BKW is trading higher by 0.4 per cent at lunchtime in the East to $14.20.

After the closing bell yesterday, billionaire Rupert Murdoch announced he had promoted son Lachlan to non-executive Co-Chair of both his media companies 21st Century Fox (FOX) and NewsCorp (NWS). Lachlan has had to stand down from his role on the Ten board. TEN shares are steady at 26.5 cents, while FOX is down 1.4 per cent to $34 and NWS is down two per cent to $17.93.

The Australian dollar remains resilient against the greenback and is at a fresh 2014 high of US92.22c.

(Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson / )
After one of the Dow's most volatile weeks in decades, institutional investors remain far from ready to give the "all-clear" sign regarding U.S. stocks. Their latest preoccupation? Concern that a large bank in France may be in trouble.
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